Civil Rights for Immigrants
Civil rights for immigrants in the UK are protected under the European Convention of Human Rights. It is unlawful for any type of public authority in the UK to behave in a manner that would infringe on immigrants or asylum seeker’s rights.
European Convention ProtectionThe protection of rights offered by the European Convention extends to every person under the authority of the UK. This includes people who leave and enter into Britain. These rights also extend to those who enter into the UK from other countries and remain in the UK. For immigrants this also includes those who have been given temporary permission into the UK. Temporary admission will mean that the rights extend to those who are present in the UK but have not actually been give permission to enter the country.
The Basic RightsThe basic rights set out in the European Convention prohibit the use of torture on immigrants. This also includes any form of degrading or inhuman treatment or punishment. This protection from torture is not just applicable to the British authorities. It also means that immigrants cannot be sent back to countries where there is a likelihood that torture or punishment will occur to the immigrant. This is an absolute right and there are no exceptions to this rule.
The Burden of ProofWhen an immigrant does claim that they will be subjected to torture of punishment if they return to their country then the burden of proof lies with them. It will not be enough for the immigrant to simply say there is a threat, they must actually provide evidence. If this evidence is proven then this right will remain absolute, even if the immigrant poses a national threat to the country. These rules are stated in Article 3 of the convention and will be absolute even if the immigrant poses as a national threat during times of war.
Right of Respect for Family LifeArticle 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights regards respect for private and family life. Prohibiting or rejecting an immigrant from the UK can be seen as an infringement of article 8 that gives everyone the right to a family life. This can include immigrants entering the UK to be with spouses or family members such as children or parents. However, this right is not absolute and there are exceptions to article 8.
Exceptions to Family Life RightsAlthough immigrants do have a right to join members of their family there can grounds for refusal. These grounds will usually occur when there is no actual reason why the spouses or family cannot join with the immigrant in their own country. If there are no insurmountable obstacles that would interfere with the relocation for the spouse/family to the alternative country then entry and right to remain may be refused. Also the immigrant may be made to leave the UK and return to their country and obtain legal entry clearance to the UK.
Immigration ProblemsImmigration law in the UK is very complex and a huge number of problems can arise for people who enter the country illegally or without permission. Another right that can be applied to immigrants is the freedom of movement right. The freedom of movement right is not actually included in the convention but it is a fundamental right that allows people the right to travel where they wish. In this context the freedom to movement right is not under dispute but the freedom to remain in a certain country would be.
Immigration control is constantly under scrutiny in the UK due to a common perception that Britain has become flooded with immigrants. Whether this is actually true or not, it does not take away the basic rights that are guaranteed to immigrants who enter Britain.