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”.

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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.

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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

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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:

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Quakers call for action on racial and ethnic disparities

4 December 2020: Quakers in Britain have submitted evidence to the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, calling on the government to embed anti-racism in policies, practice and discourse across society.

The Commission asked fundamental questions about the reasons and solutions for racial and ethnic disparities in the UK.

Quakers’ commitment to anti-racism stems from their belief that there is that of God in everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality or any other characteristic.

Quakers in Britain recently affirmed their commitment to tackling racism within their organisation.

Quakers do not want the Commission to be an excuse for the government to delay taking action to tackle racism. They called on the Commission to implement the recommendations of previous inquiries.

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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.

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Home Office accused of cover-up at camp for asylum seekers

23 November 2020: Guardian: Home Office accused of cover-up at camp for asylum seekers

Official Secrets Act used to prevent volunteers discussing ‘disturbing’ conditions at ex-barracks

Volunteers have been asked to sign confidentiality agreements underpinned by the Official Secrets Act before entering an army barracks used to house asylum seekers, as details emerge of the “disturbing” conditions on the site.

The Home Office has been accused of attempting to cover up what is happening at Napier barracks near Folkestone, Kent, where there have been hunger strikes, suicide attempts, unrest and regular medical emergencies among residents.

Volunteers providing warm clothing, amenities, company and counselling to the 400 men housed on the site have been confronted with the confidentiality form by the private firm running the repurposed site on behalf of the Home Office. [Read more]


The Home Office is using ‘contingency sites’ to house people seeking asylum because there is a long-term build up of people waiting for decisions that have not yet been processed. StatusNow4All would clear this backlog simply and offers an opportunity for UK to respect people’s human rights, dignity, and health and safety, especially at this time of the Covid-19 pandemic

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.

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