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Saturday September 23, 2006 21:05 by Caoimhe - Residents Against Racism (pers caps)
Last Minute Action Stops Illegal Deportation Of Woman Still in the Legal Process.
''Caoimhe of Residents Against Racism writes: ....one of the women with us was given another date and left with one of the RAR members. The other two women were brought upstairs. We told them not to sign anything and to say that they didn’t want to speak to anybody from their embassy. As soon as the women were brought upstairs, the porter/receptionist came over to the other RAR member and myself and started shouting at us to leave the building if we had no business in it. I informed him that we did have business there and he just kept shouting. He was quite aggressive, pointing his finger in our faces and blatantly trying to intimidate us. We were then kicked out of the (public) building.
One of the women who were brought upstairs, had a judicial review pending and didn’t have her two children with her. She rang us from upstairs (on her mobile) saying that the Guards were trying to make them sign the papers and were bring aggressive towards them. She said that the guards told her that they were deporting her. She also said that she hadn’t signed the papers. It is completely illegal to deport somebody who is still in the legal process. At this stage we informed supportive T.D.s of what was happening, who faxed letters to the GNIB and McDowell, reminding him that this woman had a judicial review pending. She was freed, an hour later....''
Article as originally submitted
I was at the GNIB on Wednesday, the day the deportation took place from 10 in the morning until we all left at roughly 7:30 in the evening, so I know what happened over the day and some of the people on the flight and would like to tell people what actually happened down there. Two other RAR members and myself were down in the GNIB to accompany people signing on at 10 in the morning. We were accompanying three women signing on.
To clarify to people who don’t know what exactly 'signing on' means: Once an asylum seeker has been served a deportation order (you can still be in the legal process when served a dep order- judicial review etc), they are given a date and a time (either at 10:00 or 14:00) that they have to present themsleves 'in order to facilitate their deportation' from the State. They have to either present themselves at their local Garda station or at the GNIB on Burgh Quay. Usually what happens is that they hand in their letter (the one saying that they had to present themselves there) when they get there, then wait for roughly 30-60 mins, and then are given another letter, with another date on it telling them when they next have to sign on. On the day of a deportation, instead of simply been given another letter, they are instead brought to a private room and held for deportation. (Occasionally they are taken into a private room on days when there are not deportations happening, where they are asked if they want to talk to somebody from their embassy. Regardless of whether they agree or disagree to talk with somebody from their embassy, they are told they HAVE TO sign to say that the don’t/do want to talk to somebody from their embassy. What they are (very often forced) to sign is in fact documents to facilitate getting their travel documents in order. People have also been handed phones and told they have to speak to the person on the other end- somebody from their embassy. This is a direct breach of international law as it is illegal to inform an embassy of an asylum seeker’s identity as they are obviously fleeing that country for a reason.)
Back to Wednesday: one of the women with us was given another date and left with one of the RAR members. The other two women were brought upstairs. We told them not to sign anything and to say that they didn’t want to speak to anybody from their embassy. As soon as the women were brought upstairs, the porter/receptionist came over to the other RAR member and myself and started shouting at us to leave the building if we had no business in it. I informed him that we did have business there and he just kept shouting. He was quite aggressive, pointing his finger in our faces and blatantly trying to intimidate us. We were then kicked out of the (public) building.
One of the women who were brought upstairs, had a judicial review pending and didn’t have her two children with her. She rang us from upstairs (on her mobile) saying that the Guards were trying to make them sign the papers and were bring aggressive towards them. She said that the guards told her that they were deporting her. She also said that she hadn’t signed the papers. It is completely illegal to deport somebody who is still in the legal process. At this stage we informed supportive T.D.s of what was happening, who faxed letters to the GNIB and McDowell, reminding him that this woman had a judicial review pending. She was freed, an hour later.
When she came out of the building she was visibly very shaken and upset. She said that the guards had taken the other woman’s phone off her, and that the other woman had signed the papers, being told that she had to sign to say that she didn’t want to see somebody from her embassy. The woman still being held was living in Mayo, and only had one of her children with her. She had a doctor’s letter for her other child to say that he was too sick to travel to Dublin that day. She was deported later that evening, without her sick child. It was her first time to ever sign on.
At 2 o’clock, more people came down to sign on and were taken upstairs. Roughly 10 people were taken from the GNIB that day. These people did not know (obviously) that they were to be deported that day, and hence, had none of their belongings with them, no money. They were not allowed to go and pick any of their stuff up. They were deported with only the clothes on their back.
During the afternoon, a woman came running out to the reception of the building, in complete hysterics, screaming ‘Rosanna, Rosanna, my son, my son’. (Rosanna is an RAR member) She was quickly slammed against the wall, by her neck, by one of the Immigration guards. The uniform guards (from Pearse St) who had been standing ‘guarding’ the door of the (public) building ran in to the reception area, followed by myself and other RAR members to see what was happening. A man (Immigration guard) was visibly hurting her neck a lot and was refusing to let her go, despite the fact that she was extremely distressed. She was screaming for her son the whole time. There was a crowd of people shouting at him to let her go. At this stage more immigration guards arrived and the uniform guards forcibly removed the RAR members from the reception area. The woman ended up on the ground of the reception area, still extremely distressed and still being held by the guards, although they had let go of her neck. She was brought back into the seating area of the building to wait for news on her son. None of us were allowed into her.
A short while later she came out to us at the front of the building. She was visibly in severe shock. She was crying constantly, and shaking all over. She came to Ireland with her husband and 6 children three years ago from Nigeria. Her eldest (who is 19 now) had just been taken upstairs to be detained and deported. He was deported that night. He doesn’t know his way around Lagos (where the people are deported to) or anybody there. He has nobody to take him in. He wasn’t allowed to pick up his belongings (despite the fact that he was only living in Mosney) and was deported with no money and only his college books in his bag. He is currently in prison in Nigeria, trying to find a way to pay the bribe that the Nigerian authorities demand before they release deportees.
Once the children of parents that come here turn 18, they are subject to deportation. It is completely barbaric.
The woman stayed with us at the front of the building until we left that night, crying the whole time. By half 5 the bruising was already starting to come up on her neck. She was accompanied home that evening.
Another woman, who stayed outside the building with us until we left that evening, was there because her husband was taken. He had been in Ireland for 7 YEARS. They have been married for 3 years. She was given leave to remain 2 months ago.
For all those people who have said that this is the law of the land, and therefore it is right, I would ask you to think again. Slavery was the law of the land in the USA. Does that mean that it was not racist?? Married women were legally barred from working in the public sector in Ireland up until 1973. Just because that was the law, does it mean that it was sexist? The law in every country is there to be challenged/abolished/ changed/ protested against. It is our duty, as humans, to fight these injustices. What will you do???