In an article in the Irish Independent last Tuesday, the 10th July, the author describes how many illegal immigrants detained in Northern Ireland are not receiving proper legal council. Reports have shown that the number of people being detained has risen by almost 75% since the stricter border patrol enforcement, known as Operation Gull, was introduced six years ago. While many of those detained are illegal, thus making it within the rights of the state to deport them, a good number have legitimate claims to stay in the state, and they are not receiving proper legal representation to ensure that their rights are being recognized. They arrive without intending to break immigration laws; they have legitimate reasons for wanting to come to the UK. They just lack the language, agency, and voice to make their situations known on a legal stage.
Not only that, but there is a growing concern of ethnic profiling at these ports of entry, and that many people who are being detained without consideration of their situation are being denied their rights because of their ethnicity.