Updates, commentary, training and advice on immigration and asylum law

Home Office picks wrong family photo for campaign


Older content is locked

A great deal of time and effort goes into producing the information on Free Movement, become a member of Free Movement to get unlimited access to all articles, and much, much more


By becoming a member of Free Movement, you not only support the hard-work that goes into maintaining the website, but get access to premium features;

  • Single login for personal use
  • FREE downloads of Free Movement ebooks
  • Access to all Free Movement blog content
  • Access to all our online training materials
  • Access to our busy forums
  • Downloadable CPD certificates

The Home Office has managed to use a photo of a child that it wanted to remove from the UK as the face of its campaign to overturn a High Court judgment allowing divided families to be reunited. The news item concerns the controversial minimum income rule that is dividing many families where one of the partners is a foreign national. By the end of December 2013 it was known that over 3,000 families had been put on hold while the Home Office fights the case through the courts. The Home Office stance is causing huge misery and suffering.

Girl__7__spared_deportation_to_Chile_as_UK_Border_Agency_drop_fight_to_have_her_kicked_out_of_Britain_-_Daily_Record-2It is extraordinary, then, that the Home Office would pick a picture of some smiling children as the image to accompany the story, and that one of the children concerned would be from a family that the Home Office had actually wanted to remove in a case they fought all the way to the door of the court.

To make matters worse, the image of the children has been used without the consent of their mother and, suspiciously, the original copyright to the photographer has been snipped off the bottom of the image.

The mother of the children, Francisca Urra, was surprised to see the picture after I highlighted it on Twitter. She said, “This is a slap in the face to my family and especially my daughter … we are ever so distressed.”

After the Go Home van fonts debacle, one would have expected the Home Office to have done better.

Screenshot of Home Office website


Relevant articles chosen for you
Picture of Colin Yeo

Colin Yeo

Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder of the Free Movement immigration law website.


10 Responses

  1. thanks for highlighting this Colin—It is my image and I had absolutely no idea it was being used—–its seems to have been taken directly from a website ran by the newspaper I freelance for…

  2. I was sick to my stomach when I read this and recognised the child in the photograph. This little girl has already been put through so much. The maddening thing is, her mother always had the right to be in the UK and should never have faced deportation in the first place, yet she lost her job and faced deportation when pregnant all for no good reason. Now, when this family are putting that awful situation behind them and getting on with their lives, the Home Office rubs their nose in it. To use this photo of children to gloat over the fact that they are separating 1000’s of families, separating 1000s of children from a parent is in extremely poor taste. To use the photo without the knowledge of the family or the photographer is beyond awful. Even if this is legal, which I doubt although I’m not an expert, it’s a terrible, badly thought out action and they should apologise to the family for the distress caused. It’s bad enough that my friend had to go public with her story to fight for the rights that were always hers. It’s not easy to put your private life out there in order to get justice.

  3. Garry Im the mum of Millie, we met. Could you push DR to contact gov website and HO to get the pic down inmediately because it’s your copyrights too.

    1. Hi Francisca–I’ve alerted the Daily Record and they are working on it at moment –I expect they will contact you soon regarding it –a very poor show from the home office doing this —

  4. Whole page no longer available. https://www.gov.uk/government/world-location-news/uk-immigration-policy-update-family-migration They’re probably running around like headless chooks right now, wringing hands trying to work out how to get out of this. Not sure why they didnt just remove the photo and leave text up – but as I indicated on twitter, they seemed to be lying in the text as well by saying they had asked CoA to expedite the MM ruling – it was the lawyers on the other side actually – from what I saw and heard on the day at least.

  5. I am the mother of the wee girl on the left and I contacted the home office by phone and the advisor informed me the publishing dept lines were going onto voicemail. I was advised to email which I did at 1238 and the photo was removed within 10-15 minutes.I am extremely angry that my daughter alongside her friends photo has been circulated worldwide for the last 8 months without my knowledge. Thank you Colin for alerting Fran and I as god knows how long this would have been on gov.uk website xx

  6. Shocking. For those of us who missed it, what did the government’s announcement actually say? Is there going to be a decision on the separated families any time soon?

    1. it was a just a summary of the their version of the history of the case up to date. As Britcits mentioned above – they did distort the truth in some to paint themselves in a better light – beyond that, it was nothing we didn’t know already.

  7. Thanks prinderella, I guessed it couldn’t be that important or we would have been told more in the blog post.

    So why were they bothering with it at all?

    Although it is cold comfort to the families involved, it seems quite possible that the effect of the Home Office policy will be an increase of several thousand in the immigration figures for 2015 (assuming it takes that long to win the case) who would otherwise have swelled the 2013/2014 figures- yet another nail in the coffin of the Conservative party’s pledge…