The persecution of ethnic and social minorities during the Second World War led to the creation of customary international human rights law. These laws serve to protect the fundamental rights and civil liberties of all individuals; even when a person is brought before a criminal court their right to justice will be protected. Through its immigration policies, the UK government aims to create a ‘hostile environment’. The detention of migrants has become the norm, and immigrants have been criminalized through the introduction of criminal offences including entering the UK on false or no documents. The increase in foreign nationals convicted of such criminal offences is portrayed as evidence that criminal migrants are a danger to public safety. Laws have been changed and the role of the courts to protect the rights of children to a family life eroded to further the hostile environment.
Pierre Makhlouf has worked in the field of immigration and asylum law since 1989, as a senior caseworker at Simons Muirhead and Burton Solicitors and at Hackney Community Law Centre. He is Assistant Director at Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID), and responsible for BID's legal strategy.