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.

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

Migrant Voice report launch, today

16 December 2020: Migrant Voice: As part of our International Migrants Day celebrations, we’re launching a report looking at media coverage of migrants and migration during the first Covid-19 lockdown in the UK.

The launch will take place on Zoom, Wednesday 16 December, 5.30-7pm, and all are welcome. Email info@migrantvoice.org to get the link. 

For this report, we analysed almost 900 news stories across nine of the UK’s most popular media outlets to answer these questions: Did we really see a shift to positive coverage of migrants, or just those working in the NHS? Which news outlets were best at including migrant voices in their Covid-19 coverage? Were migrants presented as heroes, threats or victims during this unprecedented time?

Continue reading “Migrant Voice report launch, today”

Greater Manchester leaders “will not be complicit” in asylum seeker evictions

9 December 2020: Greater Manchester mayoral and local authority leaders have released a joint statement today pledging that they “will not be complicit” in the Home Office policy of enforcing asylum seeker evictions amid winter and Covid.

Andy Burnham, deputy mayors Bev Hughes and Richard Leese, and nine council leaders have written to Priti Patel to express “profound concern” over those asylum seekers who receive a negative decision soon being evicted.

During the first coronavirus lockdown earlier this year, the evictions of refused asylum seekers from Home Office accommodation were paused due to considerations around the impact of homelessness on the spread of the virus.

But the government did not repeat this policy for the second national lockdown, with Home Office sources telling The Guardian last month that refused asylum seekers were again expected to leave the country and would not receive support.

This was despite a court order being issued that instructed the Home Office to halt evictions due to public health concerns and in light of the judge concluding that “the harm and risk cannot readily be reversed”.

Continue reading “Greater Manchester leaders “will not be complicit” in asylum seeker evictions”

Update from NACCCOM re: Reverse the decision to evict people with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) into homelessness

8 December 2020: Update from NACCCOM: We are writing to you as individuals or organisations that signed the joint letter to the Prime Minister against evictions from asylum accommodation which was sent in October.

Since then, a response has been received by both Chris Philp, Immigration Minister, and Kelly Tolhust, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing. Please click on the hyperlinks to see the letters directly.

Continue reading “Update from NACCCOM re: Reverse the decision to evict people with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) into homelessness”

AVID: 60+ organisations join our call to close the barracks and engage with civil society

8 December 2020: AVID: Today, we sent a letter to the Immigration Minister and Shadow Home Secretary highlighting the risks of housing vulnerable asylum-seekers in crowded barracks where social distancing is impossible, and urging them to implement community-based alternatives, to avoid further harm. Our letters were co-signed by more than 60 community organisations working with people in detention or seeking asylum.

Read the letter to the Immigration Minister Chris Philp MP

‘Given the significant backlog in processing asylum applications, made worse during the current pandemic, it is time to consider alternatives. The government has talked about a reset moment for migration. Now is the time, but this can only be done by involving and engaging with civil society and people with experience of the system.’

Read the letter to the Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds MP

Continue reading “AVID: 60+ organisations join our call to close the barracks and engage with civil society”

London authorities refuse to cooperate in targeting of rough sleeping migrants

4 December 2020: Freemovement: London authorities refuse to cooperate in targeting of rough sleeping migrants

This week Immigration Rule changes targeting rough sleeping migrants came into force. The Home Office has confirmed that the new Rules will not be enforced until official guidance is published, but the changes have been met with defiance across the board. 

In particular, the Greater London Authority (GLA) has stated that it will not cooperate with the Home Office on this issue:

Continue reading “London authorities refuse to cooperate in targeting of rough sleeping migrants”

The Arrivers: Why Language Matters in Migration Policy

2 December 2020: Rethinking Security: The Arrivers: Why Language Matters in Migration Policy

Catherine Henderson argues that how we talk and write about migrants determines how we and others think about them and their place in our society. Welcoming migrants as ‘arrivers’ matters as much as recognising the reasons they had to leave other countries.

A few weeks ago a series of leaks from the Home Office conjured up a dystopian world where people seeking asylum in the UK might be kept on old ferries or oil rigs or sent to Ascension Island in the South Atlantic. The boats in which they attempt to cross the Channel might be pushed back to France by wave machines or trapped in giant nets.

Continue reading “The Arrivers: Why Language Matters in Migration Policy”

Home Office failed to comply with equality law when implementing ‘hostile environment’ measures

and … Bella Sankey@BellaSankey· Director of @DetentionAction: And it’s officially confirmed. The @ukhomeoffice are planning a pre-Christmas mass deportation of Black British residents to Jamaica on 2nd December. Despite #COVID19 risks they think that they have capacity to deport 50 people on the flight. #Jamaica50@DetentionAction

Note – you can sign this petition: Urgent action needed: Home Office plan pre Christmas mass deportation to Jamaica during lockdown


EHCR: Home Office failed to comply with equality law when implementing ‘hostile environment’ measures Published: 25 Nov 2020

We assessed how and whether the Home Office complied with the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) when developing, implementing and monitoring the hostile environment policy agenda, particularly in considering its impact on Black members of the Windrush generation.

The assessment has found that negative consequences were repeatedly ignored, dismissed, or their severity disregarded at crucial points of policy development. There was limited engagement with representatives of the Windrush generation, even as the severe effects of hostile environment policies began to emerge.

Continue reading “Home Office failed to comply with equality law when implementing ‘hostile environment’ measures”

Risk Assessing Hotels And Barracks Housing Displaced People In The UK

Statement from Status Now: 20 October 2020: Risk assessing hotels and barracks housing displaced people in the UK: Statement from StatusNow4All

We note that the role of the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration is to help improve the efficiency, effectiveness and consistency of the Home Office’s border and immigration functions through unfettered, impartial and evidence-based inspection.   

We note, in contrast, that the Home Office is attempting to side step this transparent system by hiring  a private risk management company, Human Applications (https://ergonomics.org.uk/humanapplications)  to provide a ‘rapid review of initial accommodation for single adult asylum seekers, including hotels and former military barracks, and provide assurance of compliance with public health guidelines to prevent the transmission of Covid 19.’   Hastily arranged with minimal, non-transparent and selective third sector involvement, the Home Office have stated that they do not intend to make this report public.  

Living conditions have the potential to compromise the physical and psychological health of people.  Those displaced people currently accommodated by the Home Office in hotels and barracks around the UK are not being offered thorough assessment, especially in relation to the safeguarding concerns that arise from the Covid-19 pandemic.  The Home Office is failing to demonstrate either an appropriate duty of care, or any transparent process.   Similarly, the meaningful exercise of duty of care cannot be realised until there is a comprehensive test- track- trace and quarantine system that enables EVERYONE to participate, with confidence, throughout the UK. 

Alongside our call for StatusNow4All https://statusnow4all.org/about-status-now/ to enable everyone to share equal access to healthcare, housing and food, we call for the  Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration  to conduct an immediate and independent inspection that ‘provides assurance of compliance with public health guidelines to prevent the transmission of Covid 19’.

Continue reading “Risk Assessing Hotels And Barracks Housing Displaced People In The UK”

Refugee rights groups to hold welcome event outside Napier Barracks in Folkestone

17 October 2020: Morning Star: Far-right thugs harassing asylum-seekers whenever they leave MoD site in Kent where they are being held, campaigners tell the Star

Refugee rights groups to hold welcome event outside Napier Barracks in Folkestone.

ASYLUM-SEEKERS held in a former army camp in Kent are being harassed and intimidated by far-right activists every time they leave the site, campaigners told the Morning Star today.

Refugee rights groups are holding a welcome event on Saturday outside Napier Barracks in Folkestone to show support for the asylum-seekers and “undercut” the hateful messages of a small number of racists.

Continue reading “Refugee rights groups to hold welcome event outside Napier Barracks in Folkestone”