NZ immigration officials split families - human rights lawyer

Morning Talk 21/06/2018
Photo credit: File.

A high profile human rights lawyer says removal of children from their parents at our border isn’t an issue - but there are examples of our immigration officials overstepping the mark.

Deborah Manning says Immigration New Zealand does split families up without a lot of oversight.

“Essentially we have a group of officials at Immigration New Zealand called Compliance Officials and they have a lot of power and they essentially have no oversight over their power.

“They can turn up, knock on people's doors, people’s places of work, they can pull out people who are here unlawfully, parents of children and in front of the children, put them in police cars and deport those parents and seperate those children from those parents.”

Speaking with Mark Sainsbury on RadioLIVE's Morning Talk, Ms Manning says our situation is different to that currently faced by asylum seekers in US detention centres, but we aren’t perfect when dealing with families in contentious immigration situations.

“If the question is would we have a situation where [children could end up] in cages? I don’t believe so, however if the question is do we have a situation where we have a policy that could be characterised as heartless toward children and their parents? Yes we do,” she said.

On Thursday morning, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to end the process of separating children from families after they are detained crossing the US border from Mexico.

Listen to the full interview with Deborah Manning above.

Morning Talk with Mark Sainsbury, 9am - 12pm Weekdays and streaming live on 'rova' channel 9 - available on Android and iPhone.