7th August, 2003
The Trumci family were woken up At Oakington Detention Centre this morning at 4AM. They were then taken to Stansted Airport in London and deported back to Kosovo against their will. Removed from their home in West London and brought to Oakington in Cambridgeshire early on Sunday, they had been warned that sometime this week they might be deported. It has been a long week.
There are several disturbing facts about the this family's situation. Demir Trumci arrived from Kosovo 5 years ago. His first child and mother were killed there and so Demir came to England to start a new life, to find a safer place to bring his wife Adile and two other children who would join him a year later.
Demir and his family were allowed to stay in Britain. Still, during the children's school holidays one year ago, the Trumci family were taken from their home to Harmondsworth Detention Centre and detained. They were detained again last weekend and held at Oakington Detention "fast track" Centre. "They come when we have just finished school because they know that they aren't allowed to disrupt our schooling. Our friends don't even know where we are. We are so far away from home, how could they come to visit us?"
Aurora is 11 years old and has a strong English accent. She and her younger brother Arben do not speak their parents language. As Mr and Mrs Trumci struggle with English, Aurora has become the family's spokesperson. A responsibility which has forced her to grow up fast so to deal with an immigration system that is now focused on reducing access to asylum, withdrawing rights of people already with refugee status and deporting people. "One thing I do not agree with is that first they say we can live here and now they just change their mind." Her father Demir had his right to work removed by the Home Office 12 months ago, a measure surely aimed to force his family to leave as a means of survival. But for the Trumci's England is now home. Demir claims that "there is nothing now for me in Kosovo, the children do not want to leave. It is finished for me there."
The government's new "White List" has meant many refugees from the 24 "safe" countries are denied a fair application process. Once the Department of Immigration has made a "certified negative decision" the family is deported immediately. Any appeal process must be made from outside of Britain. However under Article 8 of Human Rights Act 1998 provision should have been made to suspend deportation on the grounds that the family has lived in England for more than 4 years. The Trumcis should not have been deported, even according to the Department of Immigration's own processes. How is it that their status came to be the subject of review? Even the UNHCR advise that Kosovo is unsafe for people to return, particularly minority groups.
Why was the Trumci family deported? Is the Home Office Secretary David Blunkett's quota of deporting 30,000 people annually really worth the human cost and real dangers that continue in many of the so-called "safe" countries? How long will the government keep leering at the conservative vote while making the public more and more uncomfortable about the illegal detention that continues in Britain? In the mean time it continues to expel the very people that make so many communities in Britain diverse and dynamic.
People will continue to move to find a new beginning. As capital moves so freely across borders how can there be justification for caging people and dictating where we should live.