A pilot scheme to ‘manage the return of failed asylum seeking families who had exhausted all appeal rights without using detention’ has been evaluated and found to have failed. The project has now been phased out.
The evaluation report found that, unsurprisingly, families only accepted housing at the scheme because the alternative was detention. Almost all were still fighting for their right to stay, rather than engaging with a ‘voluntary’ return. Many had not actually exhausted their legal claims – meaning that children were being threatened with detention before being appeal rights exhausted. Those that had been fully refused did not accept the decisions. Again, this is hardly surprising, given the notorious decision-making process and cynical culture of disbelief at the Home Office.