Letter: Britain backs family values, if you're white

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The Independent Online
Sir: Nobody should be surprised by the case of seven-year-old Whitney Forrester, who is threatened with deportation to an orphanage in Jamaica in spite of having a father and grandmother living in Britain ("Rejected by her mother and now by Britain", 25 March).

Our immigration laws have become increasingly tough and discriminatory against black and Asian people since the Cabinet decided to operate a covert colour-bar in the late 1950s, a policy made explicit in Cabinet minutes for 1955 and 1961.

Against this background, "family values" do not stand a chance unless the family is white. If not, the family can expect every technicality to be used to keep it separated by excluding one or more members. The instinct to exclude is so strong that the present government will not ratify two clauses in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in which the union or reunion of parents and children is guaranteed above all other considerations.

In the case of Whitney Forrester, an innocent child - who had no need of separate entry clearance when she came to Britain with her mother - has become persona non grata because her mother abandoned her, even though her father and grandmother are anxious to keep and support her.

The next government must eliminate such travesties of justice by examining immigration and nationality laws and repealing those that give licence to the pernicious exercise of racial discrimination, so that the law can fulfil its proper role as the foundation of justice for all.

CHAS RAWS

Campaign Co-ordinator, Christian Action for Justice in Immigration Law

Glasgow

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