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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 February 2007, 09:22 GMT
Deportation leaves MP 'ashamed'
Austin Mitchell
Mr Mitchell said the Bokharis were well-loved in Grimsby
An MP has said the government's deportation of a family in his constituency makes him "ashamed" to be a member of the Labour Party.

Grimsby MP Austin Mitchell said the Bokhari family was now facing danger after being deported to Pakistan.

In a front page article in Thursday's Independent, Mr Mitchell said the decision to return the family, who have four children, "left a nasty taste".

A Home Office spokesman said he was unable to comment on individual cases.

Human rights lawyer Sibtain Bokhari said he and his family had to flee their home following an attempted shooting by Islamic extremists in 2003.

An out-of-control Immigration and Nationality Directorate is doing what it wants to get deportations up
Austin Mitchell
MP for Great Grimsby

The family were sent to Grimsby by the Immigration Service in September 2003 but had several applications for asylum rejected.

On 22 January the family were told they would be deported that night.

Mr Mitchell said he received a call from Mr Bokhari's wife that day, saying the family had been "handcuffed, put in a car and carted off to Heathrow".

He said he immediately called the immigration minister Liam Byrne but was told he was unavailable.

Mr Mitchell said a fax from the Home Office telling him about the family's deportation was only sent to his office after it closed, and an e-mail only reached him the following day.

The MP for Great Grimsby said the move came after several frustrating meetings with the Home Office where he claimed ministers were more interested in boosting deportation figures than listening to the cases.

'Strings MPs along'

In the article, Mr Mitchell wrote: "It leaves a nasty taste.

"An out-of-control Immigration and Nationality Directorate is doing what it wants to get deportations up.

"The minister goes along, ratifies its decisions (he hardly ever rejects them), observes its deadlines and strings MPs along, pretending to listen while doing nothing."

Mr Mitchell said that when the family returned to their house in Pakistan they found it daubed with "the sign of the cross" and occupied by squatters.

He was also concerned that Mr Bokhari, who is a diabetic, was not receiving the medication he needed.

'Model pupils'

The MP said the family were popular in Grimsby.

He said: "The children, all at Grimsby schools, were model pupils. The parents were school governors, model citizens and well-loved.

"Perhaps we'll win enough National Fronters to compensate for the loss of the many liberals this has alienated.

"I don't know. But I do know how I feel. Ashamed."

A Home Office spokesman said they were unable to comment on individual cases but said all applications were considered on their own merits.

He said: "We recognise the contribution that foreign migrants who are here legally can make to the UK, both economically and culturally.

"However we seek to remove all those who have no right to be here."


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