Scottish independence: ‘Ban on asylum dawn raids’

Humza Yousaf. Picture: Greg MacveanHumza Yousaf. Picture: Greg Macvean
Humza Yousaf. Picture: Greg Macvean
DAWN raids on the homes of asylum seekers would be banned in an independent Scotland, international development minister Humza Yousef has claimed.

Mr Yousef said that the practice of officers turning up in the middle of the night and dragging families out of bed – a policy instigated by officials in London – was “unacceptable”.

Speaking to Holyrood’s European and external affairs committee, Mr Yousef said that former first minister Lord Jack McConnell had been opposed to the practice but had been unable to formally bring an end to the policy. “There are still asylum seekers who claim that it happens,” said Mr Yousef.

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“In an independent Scotland, we will end the practice of dawn raids. The system [of immigration and asylum seekers] would be based on compassion and humanity. There is no justification at all for this kind of treatment.”

He said he was “deeply concerned” at the rhetoric of immigration employed by the Westminster government, citing the Home Office’s “Go Home” campaign last year.

He told how he had himself been subject to racist abuse in the past. “I have had “go home” shouted at me and there is no worse insult than being told to go home when you have no other home,” he said.

“This is my home, and I have lived and worked here all of my life.”

The minister told politicians that Scotland as an independent small country could still make “huge changes” to the lives of poorer countries.

He added that if Scotland votes Yes, it would have its own immigration system and a common travel area – and would bring back a post study work visa akin to the previous Scottish Government’s Fresh Start policy to keep international students in Scotland.