UK: ‘Reckless’ new plan on immigration sees major decline in processing asylum claims

27 May 2021: Amnesty International: UK: ‘Reckless’ new plan on immigration sees major decline in processing asylum claims

Quarterly immigration statistics published by Home Office today: Long outstanding asylum claims 50% higher than a year ago

‘The Home Office’s new asylum rules are reckless and impractical’ – Steve Valdez-Symonds

New statistics published today by the Home Office show that immigration rules introduced by the Home Secretary last December have led to more than 1,500 people who have sought asylum in the UK being warned the Home Office is looking to send them to other countries. Although there are no agreements in place for those countries to accept responsibility for their asylum claims. To date, none of these people have been removed from the UK.

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Britain’s borders: wide open to Covid, slammed shut for people in need

What are the priorities?

19 May 2021: Guardian: Britain’s borders: wide open to Covid, slammed shut for people in need

“During the first three months of the pandemic – from 1 January until lockdown on 23 March last year, 18 million people arrived in the UK from abroad. But only 273 of them were obliged to quarantine. By contrast, across the 12 months to March 2020, 23,075 people were thrown into immigration detention centres: prisons for people who have not been convicted of any crime but are suspected of entering – or remaining in – the country without the correct paperwork.”

Read the article here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/may/19/britain-borders-covid-government-indian-variant-migrants

Iranian asylum seeker cleared of Channel smuggling charges

January 2021: BBC: Channel migrants: Iranian jailed for piloting two dinghies

‘Following the sentencing, the Home Office’s Clandestine Channel Threat Commander Dan O’Mahoney said Kakaei’s actions “risked lives” and the prosecution “put a stop to that cycle of criminality”.


This is what the New Plan for Immigration rests on, calling people seeking asylum ‘criminals’, but on retrial:

14 May 2021: Guardian: Iranian asylum seeker cleared of Channel smuggling charges

Man who took turn steering boat ‘because he didn’t want to die’ freed, with case opening way for others to appeal their sentences

An asylum seeker jailed on smuggling charges for helping to steer a boat filled with migrants from France to England has had his conviction overturned at a retrial after spending 17 months in jail.

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Anti-Deportation Protesters Block Immigration Van From Leaving Glasgow Street

Guardian Cruel, paranoid, failing: inside the Home Office

For the thousands of people who end up on the wrong side of the Home Office each year, there is often a sudden moment of disbelief. This can’t be happening, people tell themselves. They can’t do this, can they? https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/may/13/cruel-paranoid-failing-priti-patel-inside-the-home-office


BBC: Police release men from immigration van blocking Glasgow street

Two men who were being detained in an immigration van which was surrounded by protesters have been released.

The move followed a standoff between police officers and protesters in Kenmure Street on Glasgow’s southside.

Early on Thursday people surrounded the Home Office vehicle believed to contain two Indian immigrants who had been removed from a flat.

Hundreds gathered in the area, with one man crawling under the van to prevent it from moving.

The Home Office said the men had been detained over “suspected immigration offences”.

Some of the protesters were heard shouting “let our neighbours go”.

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New Plan for Immigration

Updated 13 May 2021: Quakers reject New Plan for Immigration

Quakers in Britain and the Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network (QARN) have criticised the government’s immigration plans.

Quakers in Britain and the Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network (QARN) have criticised the government’s immigration plans.

Believing in the sanctity of all human life, Quakers believe that the current immigration and asylum system should be replaced by a compassionate, human rights-based approach. But the the government’s New Plan for Immigration is designed to increase hostility rather than create a fair system.

Quakers are particularly concerned about the unjust proposal to discriminate against people on the basis of how they arrive in the UK. It would punish those who are fleeing persecution but who cannot access safe and legal routes.

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Concerns about New Plan for Immigration consultation process

QARN signed this letter: 30 April 2021: Guardian: ‘Sham’: 200 groups criticise UK government consultation on refugee policy

Bodies say survey is poorly designed, rushed and may exclude refugees from responding

Almost 200 organisations have branded a government consultation on fundamental changes to refugee policy “a sham”.

A total of 192 refugee, human rights, legal and faith groups have signed a public statement condemning the six-week consultation on the government’s New Plan for Immigration as “vague, unworkable, cruel and potentially unlawful”.

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Agnes’ petition: Priti Patel’s detention policies found to breach human rights rules

26 April 2021: Agnes’ petition: Stop the new detention centre for women

My name is Agnes. I am a refugee, I am a woman, I am a human being. The Home Office has started building a new immigration detention centre at Hassockfield in County Durham to lock up women like me. Please join me in taking action to stop them.

Please join me in taking a stand against this detention centre.

If you want to know more and get involved in this campaign in other ways please visit: www.refugeewomen.co.uk/campaign/setherfree 

Read more and sign here: https://www.change.org/p/the-home-secretary-stop-the-new-detention-centre-for-women

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UK Asylum System and Asylum Seekers’ Mental Health

The Mental Health Foundation has found that the increased vulnerability to mental health problems that refugees and asylum seekers face is linked both to their pre-migration and post-migration experiences. People who have fled persecution, violence and war hope to find safety and security in the UK. Tragically, the current UK asylum system often exacerbates their suffering, with long waits for asylum decisions, poor accommodation and a ban on working all contributing to this situation.

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In advance of the new overhaul the immigration system:

24 March 2021 The Home Office MP Account Management Team:We are fixing a broken asylum system and creating a new one which will be fairer and firmer and compassionate towards those who need our help.

Government Consultation process announced – responses to be filed by 6 May 2021 11.45pm: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/new-plan-for-immigration

Priti Patel’s statement today: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/home-secretarys-statement-on-the-new-plan-for-immigration


This post will be updated with reports from some organisations considering the plan

1 April 2021: The Tablet: Jesuit Refugee Service: Why the new immigration plan is cruel and inhumane by Sarah Teather

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ICIBI report: An inspection of the work of Border Force, Immigration Enforcement, and UK Visas and Immigration to identify, investigate, disrupt and prosecute perpetrators of modern slavery and human trafficking

4 March 2021: Publishing the report, David Bolt said:

In 2017, ICIBI reported on the identification and treatment of Potential Victims of Modern Slavery (PVoMS) by Border Force, following this up in 2018 with a re-inspection to check on progress made in implementing ICIBI’s recommendations.

Following discussions with the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner about where a further inspection might add most value, between October 2019 and April 2020 ICIBI examined the work being done by Border Force, Immigration Enforcement and UK Visas and Immigration to identify, investigate, disrupt and prosecute the perpetrators of modern slavery and human trafficking (MSHT).

The inspection found that while operational activity overall had increased since the Modern Slavery Strategy was launched in 2014, the work of the Home Office’s three Borders, Immigration and Citizenship System (BICS) operational directorates, and that of the wider Home Office, remained siloed and disjointed, with little evidence of a plan to address this.

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