Free­ing the twins

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT&ANALYSIS/ -

Cur­rently, Bri­tain seems to have an ob­ses­sion with the threat of mass im­mi­gra­tion from East­ern Europe. So it is re­fresh­ing to see the Jewish com­mu­nity com­ing to­gether to buck the trend. Birm­ing­ham Pro­gres­sive Syn­a­gogue and the Board of Deputies, in their ef­forts on be­half of two teenagers from Kyr­gys­tan, have shown that the many asy­lum-seek­ers who pop­u­late bleak de­ten­tion cen­tres up and down the coun­try are for the most part sim­ply peo­ple who want to live free from fear. The twin sis­ters had lived peace­fully in Bri­tain for three years when they were grabbed from the streets, told that their asy­lum ap­pli­ca­tions had failed, and in­car­cer­ated in Yarl’s Wood, an es­tab­lish­ment with a grim rep­u­ta­tion. The syn­a­gogue recog­nised the plight of Ka­rina and Kamila Kaya, who had sought refuge here af­ter their par­ents were killed by gun­men in their home coun­try. They were not eco­nomic mi­grants. They were lit­er­ally run­ning for their lives. Yet de­spite the ef­forts of the Birm­ing­ham Pro­gres­sive com­mu­nity, the Board and the Jewish Agency — which plans to of­fer the girls a home in Is­rael — it seemed un­til Wed­nes­day that their fate would in­evitably be de­por­ta­tion. The break­through came when the Home Of­fice ini­tially put off the de­por­ta­tion by seven weeks — and then re­leased Ka­rina and Kamila. Of course, their story is not over. The young women now have to de­cide whether to tie their fu­ture to Is­rael or fight an ap­peal to stay in the UK. What the com­mu­nity has done, to its credit, is to give them the op­por­tu­nity to choose.

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