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Refugees (Family Reunion) (No.2) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:58 am on 16th March 2018.

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Photo of Vicky Foxcroft Vicky Foxcroft Opposition Whip (Commons) 10:58 am, 16th March 2018

I congratulate Angus Brendan MacNeil on introducing the Second Reading of his Bill. Many of us in the House feel very strongly about this subject, and I am grateful for the opportunity to make my own contribution to the debate.

Like many of my right hon. and hon. Friends who are here today, I suspect, my interest in this Bill comes from personal experiences gained at my advice surgery. Lewisham, Deptford has more than its fair share of immigration casework, and many of the cases that my staff and I deal with are very troubling. However, it is those that fall within the scope of the Bill which are often the most traumatic.

In December last year, I met a Somali woman who is caring for her four nieces and nephews in Lewisham, after their father was murdered in front of them and their mother back home in Somalia. The mother disappeared for several years, until it was discovered that she had sought asylum in Cyprus. She is experiencing deteriorating physical health, as well as suffering mentally from the trauma of seeing her husband murdered. My constituent is in the process of trying to reunite her sister with her children, but under current rules, the sister has to undergo the lengthy, stressful and costly process of applying for a visa to settle here.

The Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network is an excellent but overstretched and under-resourced service in my constituency.