Cunningham, Jo and Cunningham, Steve
‘No Choice at All’: Destitution or Deportation? A Commentary on the Implementation of Section 9 of the Asylum and Immigration (treatment of claimants, etc) Act 2004.
Critical Social Policy, 27
Despite the controversy surrounding the passage of Section 9 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Act into law, the Home Office is piloting it in a number of local authorities across England and Wales, with a view to implementing it nationally. The Home Office is conducting its own evaluation of the pilot, but stake-holders remain unconvinced as to its objectivity and validity. This article analyses the implementation of Section 9 and finds that it has been a spectacular failure. Quite apart from failing to achieve its desired aim of securing the return of failed asylum seekers to their country of origin, Section 9 has brought about immeasurable suffering and misery. Attention is drawn to the human impact of the policy, and profiled are some of the families who have faced the impossible choice of destitution or deportation. On a more positive note, the article recognizes the unprecedented and overwhelming support that families have received from local people and the media.