ICIBI inspection of the use of hotels and barracks as contingency asylum accommodation

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) has begun an inspection of the use of hotels and barracks as contingency asylum accommodation and is inviting anyone with relevant knowledge or experience to submit their evidence to chiefinspector@icibi.gov.uk.

The call for evidence will remain open for four weeks (until 19 February 2021).

This inspection will examine the use made of hotels and other forms of contingency asylum accommodation, including Penally Camp and Napier Barracks, since the beginning of 2020. It will focus on the roles and responsibilities of the Home Office and the accommodation service providers, and of other parties, in relation to the use of contingency asylum accommodation, including:

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More ‘Contingency Units’ and proposals for housing people seeking asylum

8 December 2020: BBC Barton Stacey asylum seeker cabin site ‘would be open prison’

Barton Stacey site
image captionAsylum seekers would be housed on Ministry of Defence land near the A303, the council said

Plans to accommodate up to 500 asylum seekers in cabins near a village have been condemned by both the local MP and council leader.

Test Valley Borough Council leader Phil North said the “substandard” homes near Barton Stacey, Hampshire, would be like an “open prison”.

Fellow Conservative Caroline Nokes MP said the site would infringe rules on development.

The Home Office said any accommodation would be “of the required standard”.

Mr North said the site, on Ministry of Defence land near the A303, would mainly house asylum seekers who had come to the UK in boats.

Read more here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-55218376

Summary of the camp_hotels situation

21 January 2021: Someone new to Qarn has written to ask: I am new to Qarn and find the wealth of info quite daunting .  Please can you tell me more about the new asylum seekers accomodation centre.  Where  can I find a summary of some of the initiatives etc and current state/numbers of asylum seekers in uk , many thanks.

The following long read may be helpful.  I know that others in the QARN group also have information. This is just one aspect of the concerns shared by QARN members – there is a lot to be concerned about and we can’t all do everything, but if we each do what we can maybe we can find a way to change the system.

To answer, it is maybe worth saying that there is a lot of traffic on QARN, but feel free to only pick up the emails that interest you.  I don’t keep up with everything myself, and I have been involved since 2007. 

I suggest that QARN is the same as other Quaker situations, where you should feel able to let some things pass if they don’t speak to you. There is a lot of history – some of us have been around for a long time, and others are fairly new to it, so feel free to ask questions, and please try not to feel daunted.

To begin to unpick the questions: first I’ll run through how the system works,  then explain why this is all suddenly of great concern. 

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Plans to open ‘prison-style’ immigration camp on site of former Medomsley Detention Centre

23 January 2021: This is disgraceful and it is very troubling that consideration is being given to increasing the ‘detention estate’, especially at this time of Covid-19:

Guardian: Planned asylum seeker site near Hampshire village ‘like open prison’

Anger over government proposal to house up to 500 people in cabins on MoD land beside Barton Stacey. Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/dec/09/planned-asylum-seeker-site-hampshire-village-open-prison-barton-stacey


Chronicle Live reports: The former Hassockfield Detention Centre could become a Category 3-style prison to detain around 80 people who have had applications for UK residency denied

Plans for a multi-million pound housing scheme in County Durham are expected to be scrapped to be replaced by an immigration detention centre.

The Home Office is proposing to turn the former Hassockfield Detention Centre, in Consett, into a Category 3-style prison to detain around 80 people who have had applications for UK residency denied.

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Army-prison style camps used as ‘contigency units’

This post is being updated with reports of atrocities around the army camp accommodation:

Updated 24 January: [How dare they!}

100 Asylum Seekers at Former Military Barracks Test Positive for Coronavirus’
A coronavirus outbreak at a former army barracks being used to house asylum seekers in Kent could now have grown to at least 100 positive cases, ITV News has been told. One asylum seeker at the Napier Barracks near Folkestone claimed that almost one-quarter of the 400 men living there tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday. Concerns were raised on Friday that cases could spiral out of control as the hundreds of men on the site were apparently still free to mix with each other and social distancing was “impossible.”

On Tuesday, Home Office minister for Immigration Chris Philp said that he was “incredibly disappointed” to learn that the actions of some residents had contributed to the outbreak. In a statement he said: “A number of individuals refused tests and have been either refusing to self-isolate or follow social distancing rules, despite repeated requests to do so and these being national guidelines to protect the NHS and save lives.
Read more: ITV News, https://is.gd/lpp2BZ


Freedom From Torture: ARMY BARRACKS PETITION

Army barracks petition

A major health crisis is unfolding. A Covid outbreak has put vulnerable refugees in danger. Join us to call for the camps to close NOW.

https://action.freedomfromtorture.org/action-thanks-close-asylum-camps-1


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The UK’s hostile environment: Deputising immigration control

Melanie Griffiths, University of Birmingham, England
Colin Yeo, Garden Court Chambers, London
Abstract – the full text is here: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0261018320980653

In 2012, Home Secretary Theresa May told a newspaper that she wanted to create a ‘really hostile environment’ for irregular migrants in the UK. Although the phrase has since mutated to refer to generalised stateled marginalisation of immigrants, this article argues that the hostile environment is a specific policy approach, and one with profound significance for the UK’s border practices. We trace the ‘hostile environment’ phrase, exposing its origins in other policy realms, charting its evolution into immigration, identifying the key components and critically reviewing the corresponding legislation.

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ICIBI An inspection of the Home Office’s use of sanctions and penalties

2021 Jan 14: Publishing the report, David Bolt said: For many this will seem to be a case of too little, and much too late. From ICIBI’s perspective, in 2016, and again in 2018 and 2019, a series of inspection reports recommended that the Home Office should monitor and evaluate the impact of the hostile/compliant environment. These recommendations were only “partially accepted” and never implemented. Had they been, some of the harms suffered by the Windrush generation and others may have been avoided.

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Petition: housing vulnerable asylum seekers in portacabins on wasteland next to Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre

It’s the middle of a grim winter, the pandemic is fiercer than ever, and yet the Home Office wants to force hundreds of vulnerable refugees into cramped portacabins at the infamous Yarl’s Wood detention centre.

This is a cruel way to treat refugees, it’s badly planned policy and it should be stopped. One brave local resident has today launched a legal challenge to halt the Government in its tracks. It’s a cause we should all support.

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