It's time for a total overhaul of immigration policy. It's currently racist and unfeeling. The Kapecha story is of a family living in Dorset with widespread support among the local community, of all backgrounds. The campaign to let them stay joined together Ann Widdecombe and George Galloway. A letter in today's Grauniad says:
Local residents have organised marches. There have been sponsored walks by schoolchildren and students. A delegation has visited the House of Commons and there have been many letters (including my own) sent to the Home Office pleading the case. Now all this is to no avail and the family is to be deported. The minister talks about abiding by the regulations but, as always with this government, what he means is that "targets" take priority over case histories and people.Immigration should be about more than targets and following procedure. It should be about people. Making their lives better. A society that deports people against their will, and the will of a community, is not the kind of society to which I wish to belong.
Every day, hundreds of people are allowed to stay because it is too hard to apprehend them, while others who can be caught - frequently those in real danger - are sent back to make up these purely notional numbers.
In brief, the Kachepas' crime was to be visible, to have a home, a united family, an identity and a place in the community; not, in fact, to be on the run. That was their mistake and now Verah and her four children, Natasha, Alex, Antony and Upili must fly out to an uncertain future in Malawi, a country that is no longer their home and which offers them no security. I do not think immigration should be unlimited. I would only argue that there should be a cogent policy in place that makes more sense than the ramshackle and arbitrary injustice that the present officially sponsored chaos inflicts on innocent citizens.
Let them stay. The Kachepa's have a better life here than in Malawi.