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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 February 2007, 15:42 GMT
Nicol Stephen condemns dawn raids
Protest at Brand Street
Dawn raids to remove failed asylum seekers have led to protests
Deputy First Minister Nicol Stephen has condemned the use of dawn raids to remove the children of failed asylum seekers from Scotland.

His comments came after the head of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) in Scotland said his department was still not "fit for purpose".

Robina Qureshi, of support group Positive Action in Housing (PAIH), said the immigration service needed reform.

A Home Office spokeswoman said it would take time to restructure the IND.

Mr Stephen described the dawn raids as "unacceptable and unnecessary".

They have a messed-up asylum system which they are continuing to use to enforce removals against asylum families
Robina Qureshi
Positive Action in Housing

He added that he opposed the message coming from the UK Government for a more aggressive approach.

"Clearly where there are failed asylum seekers there has to be a system to remove people from the country but, especially for families with children, dawn raids are not the right approach," Mr Stephen said.

"There has to be a more sensitive integrated approach involving the education authorities, social work departments and the UK agencies and when there are children involved it doesn't have to be at six o'clock in the morning."

A number of failed asylum seekers have already been subject to dawn raids.

There are about 1,500 families, mostly in Glasgow, whose applications for asylum have failed but who still refuse to leave.

Phil Taylor, who is regional director for the Home Office's immigration and nationality department, said it could be another 18 months before it was fully restructured.

Ms Qureshi said the asylum system was in chaos.

New system

"They have a messed-up asylum system which they are continuing to use to enforce removals against asylum families," she said.

"They need to acknowledge that and to allow these long-term families, that have been part of the community, to remain and to sort out whatever structural issues that he's (Phil Taylor) referring to."

Following protests, a new system to deal with the removal of failed applicants has been launched.

A Home Office spokeswoman stressed that the restructuring of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, which had been ordered by Home Secretary John Reid, was never going to happen overnight.

It was always going to "take time" to work through, she said.

Mr Stephen says a get tough approach is wrong for families

Asylum chief's service concerns
01 Feb 07 |  Scotland
Asylum seeker raids 'must stop'
03 Jan 07 |  Scotland
Raids on asylum seekers condemned
10 Dec 06 |  Glasgow and West
Asylum dawn raids prompts protest
04 Dec 06 |  Glasgow and West
Minister confirms asylum reform
26 Oct 06 |  Scotland
Concerns voiced over dawn raids
07 Oct 06 |  Scotland
Review of asylum raids announced
27 Mar 06 |  Scotland

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