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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Forgetful Labour get it wrong again

The Western Mail reports on an e-mail received by all Assembly Members from UK Immigration Minister, Damien Green this week telling us that we should not seek to take up issues with the UK Border Agency. Mr. Green explained that this is not a devolved matter and suggested that it would be best if we referred any casework to the local MP who, it is fair to say has access to hotlines, key civil servants and Ministers not available to AMs and thus are better able to get quick results, including stopping deportations in their tracks so that a case can be reviewed.

As far as I was concerned this was just a continuation of the arrangement that has been in place for a number of years. Although, AMs do get immigration cases and, in my case at least, have written to the relevant Minister about them, we know that our letter is just one of many and that the real influence lies with MPs. That is why I tend to immediately refer such cases to the local MP as well.

I do not think that this edict will change that approach and no doubt we will continue to get the same reply as before that this is not a matter for the Welsh Assembly and that the individual concerned should go to his or her MP. I am astonished therefore that Wayne David should consider this to be a change of policy.

He says that he had the policy changed but if so he did not tell me in my capacity as an AM and nor did I notice any difference in the way that my correspondence was dealt with. Presumably he would not have been slow to write to us to announce this coup. All-in-all it seems to me that this is a storm in a teacup, which is presumably why it has been tucked away on page 18 of the newspaper.
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