Thursday, July 31, 2008

The final insult

Far too little attention was given to the Metock case last week, when the ECJ ruled that failed asylum seekers could stay in the EU if they married a citizen of an EU member state while they were waiting to be deported.

The one thing that the ECJ did concede, however, was that, if it was a "sham" marriage, the right to remain in the EU did not apply – but no more.

In a judgement yesterday our own Law Lords decided that the government cannot even ask such people to demonstrate that their marriages are valid. Such an idea is "arbitrary and unjust" - even for those who are here on a temporary visa and are getting married only weeks before their permission to stay in Britain runs out.

This follows a crackdown introduced by the government in February 2005 after the number of suspected sham ceremonies - often arranged by criminal gangs who could earn £10,000 a time - reached 3,700. It was cut this to around 300 a year.

But now, the Lords have ruled that the government's procedures breach of Section 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights - the right to marry. In future, the Home Office will be forced to consider the merits of a union being made even at the very last moment before a migrant is due to leave the UK.

In our earlier piece, we wrote that we were being taken for mugs and this confirms it. In fact, this is a negation of any idea of territorial integrity as, increasingly, we are forced into opening our border to any Tom Dick or Hacene that thinks he – or she – wants to take up residence here. It is the final insult (until the next one).