AIRE Centre says people are facing arbitrary deportation without access to a fair trial
AIRE Centre crowdsources for legal challenge against Operation Nexus
27 April 2016
The AIRE Centre is bringing a judicial review to challenge a joint Metropolitan Police and Home Office initiative which it says allows people to be deported from the UK without any convictions.
According to the AIRE Centre, the initiative, known as Operation Nexus, has seen people with no prior convictions face arbitrary deportation without access to a fair trial.
A crowdsourcing campaign to raise money for the judicial review has been created here on the Crowd Justice website.
The campaign page says: "in Nexus cases, the Home Office is provided with police intelligence regarding individuals who may only be suspected of some form of criminality, or who may have had a criminal conviction many years ago or in a some cases may not have been convicted of a criminal offence ever. This intelligence information is then presented to the immigration tribunal considering any deportation appeal, often without any external scrutiny or challenge."
The AIRE Centre's Audrey Cherryl Morgan wrote an in-depth article on Operation Nexus for The Justice Gap which you can read here.
Morgan says Operation Nexus began in London in 2012 and has now spread to reach across parts of the Midlands, Yorkshire, Northern England and the whole of Scotland.
The article states: "Contrary to the stated aim of targeting high harm foreign nationals, we have a number of clients who don't have a single conviction and yet are threatened with expulsion under Operation Nexus. In addition, people who may have very old convictions but have been law abiding citizens for decades are still being caught up in this dragnet."
Morgan says the most troubling aspect of Operation Nexus is when it is viewed in the context of restrictions on access to justice and the anti-immigrant climate, noting that cuts to legal aid through the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) have meant that it is difficult, if not impossible, for EU nationals threatened with administrative removal or deportation to access appropriate legal advice.
In addition, Morgan says the deport first, appeal later regime makes it extremely difficult for people to properly challenge this life altering decision.
The AIRE Centre is trying to raise £3,000 to help challenge Operation Nexus and it requests donations be made here.
For further details on Operation Nexus, you can read a September 2014 briefing paper by Luqmani Thompson & Partners here.
Following the introduction of Nexus in 2012, the then immigration minister Mark Harper said the operation had already led to the removal of some of London's highest-harm criminals including several prominent gang members in London and a violent sex-offender.
"Through our combined work with the police we are using the full force of immigration powers on those who seek to commit crime and damage our communities. The success of this operation proves that foreign nationals who continue to offend in this country will be arrested and removed from the UK," Harper said.