ICIBI: Second annual inspection of ‘Adults at risk in immigration detention’

This report from ICIBI links well to the report of 24 November 2021: BBC – Brook House detention centre whistleblower ‘abuse’ inquiry begins – see that and other information about the Brook House Inquiry below

21 October 2021: Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration – ICIBI Report Published: Second Annual Inspection of ‘Adults at risk in immigration detention’ July 2020 to March 2021

This inspection found that work to address shortcomings in the Home Office’s policy and procedures for identifying and safeguarding vulnerable detainees was moving at an unacceptably slow pace. Though seven of the eight recommendations made in ICIBI’s first annual inspection were accepted in full or in part, none of these had been closed by January 2021.

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Young People

23 November 2021: Guardian: Performative cruelty’: UK treatment of refugees worst ever, says charity

Kent Refugee Action Network says young people arriving on south coast are a benefit, not a problem

On a windswept, bitingly cold day in Folkestone a discreet green portable building is a beacon of welcome on a stretch of the south coast patrolled by Border Force boats and self-proclaimed migrant hunters on the far right.

Inside its cheerfully decorated walls are workers from Kent Refugee Action Network. The organisation has supported young asylum seekers who arrive on the south coast for more than two decades.

Despite the plummeting temperatures and supposedly enhanced border patrols along the French coast, people continue to head for Kent’s shores in unseaworthy small boats.

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UNHCR: World leaders must act to reverse the trend of soaring displacement

18 June 2021: UNHCR: World leaders must act to reverse the trend of soaring displacement

Congolese asylum-seekers await health screening in Zombo, near the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, in July 2020.  © UNHCR/Rocco Nuri

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is today urging world leaders to step up their efforts to foster peace, stability and cooperation in order to halt and begin reversing nearly a decade-long trend of surging displacement driven by violence and persecution.

Despite the pandemic, the number of people fleeing wars, violence, persecution and human rights violations in 2020 rose to nearly 82.4 million people, according to UNHCR’s latest annual Global Trends report released today in Geneva. This is a further four per cent increase on top of the already record-high 79.5 million at the end of 2019.

The report shows that by the end of 2020 there were 20.7 million refugees under UNHCR mandate, 5.7 million Palestine refugees and 3.9 million Venezuelans displaced abroad. Another 48 million people were internally displaced (IDPs) within their own countries. A further 4.1 million were asylum-seekers. These numbers indicate that despite the pandemic and calls for a global ceasefire, conflict continued to chase people from their homes.

“Behind each number is a person forced from their home and a story of displacement, dispossession and suffering. They merit our attention and support not just with humanitarian aid, but in finding solutions to their plight.”

“While the 1951 Refugee Convention and the Global Compact on Refugees provide the legal framework and tools to respond to displacement, we need much greater political will to address conflicts and persecution that force people to flee in the first place,” said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.

Girls and boys under the age of 18 account for 42 per cent of all forcibly displaced people. They are particularly vulnerable, especially when crises continue for years. New UNHCR estimates show that almost one million children were born as refugees between 2018 and 2020. Many of them may remain refugees for years to come.

“The tragedy of so many children being born into exile should be reason enough to make far greater efforts to prevent and end conflict and violence,” said Grandi.

The report also notes that at the peak of the pandemic in 2020, over 160 countries had closed their borders, with 99 States making no exception for people seeking protection. Yet with improved measures – such as medical screenings at borders, health certification or temporary quarantine upon arrival, simplified registration procedures and remote interviewing, more and more countries found ways to ensure access to asylum while trying to stem the spread of the pandemic.

While people continued to flee across borders, millions more were displaced within their own countries. Driven mostly by crises in Ethiopia, Sudan, Sahel countries, Mozambique, Yemen, Afghanistan and Colombia the number of internally displaced people rose by more than 2.3 million.

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Forced worklessness and fatherhood

27 May 2021: Compas: Forced worklessness and fatherhood by Candice Morgan-Glendinning & Melanie Griffiths

Research being launched on 8 June: Political and media discourses around immigration tend to make a sharp distinction between desirable and undesirable migrants. Some people are more welcome than others, including on the basis of factors such as income level, savings, education, employment status and area of work. Foreign nationals with low incomes, who are out of work or deemed ‘low skilled’, tend to be portrayed as abusing the system, undercutting British workers and as a burden on the taxpayer.

Less known, are the many ways in which the immigration system itself forces unemployment upon people (whilst simultaneously draining people of savings through the huge sums required for immigration applications and appeals). Many migrants, including people claiming asylum or subject to Deportation Orders, rarely have the right to work or access public funds. The few asylum seekers who do get the right to work are only eligible to work in jobs on the Shortage Occupation List, which are graduate level or above and include civil engineers, archaeologists and chemical scientists. And those who do receive any financial support, only get a fraction of mainstream benefits.

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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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For stateless people in the UK, the road to recognition can be tortuous

UNHCR: For stateless people in the UK, the road to recognition can be tortuous

I am a human being just like you all,
I have great moments and sometimes I stumble and fall.
I am merely a human being first and foremost,
Do not treat me like I am a number, I am not a ghost.
I have a family which I have not seen in years,
I try to wash away the pain but all I feel are tears.
Running down to the bottom of my face,
I may not have a document, but I am part of the human race.
I fight my battles inside and out, trying to prove I am worth much more,
I try to show you what I am all about, but you keep slamming the door.
I have worked hard for all that which I have achieved,
I am still human if only you will believe.
Believe, that I have a right to live and be free as everyone else,
My circumstances, my life in chaos, I am in a mess.
Through no fault of my own I find myself here stuck,
I am stuck in this injustice, riding extremely low on my hope and luck.
But I believe in all the good that still exists,
the truth will surface if I persist,
I will continue to raise my voice for those who cannot,
this choice I do not regret.
I am still a human being, lest you should forget

from the report ‘I Am Human’ (the link is below)

Most of us take our citizenship for granted. But for people who are stateless, the lack of citizenship is often an identity crisis that can last many years – sometimes, the best part of a lifetime.

Stateless people living in the UK told UNHCR of the limbo they find themselves in as they seek recognition of their status. 

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Huge obstacles faced by stateless people in UK

Ekklesia: UNHCR, THE UN REFUGEE AGENCY, has released a new study showing that many of those who find themselves in the UK  without a nationality face major obstacles trying to navigate the country’s statelessness determination procedure, and hence experience prolonged periods in legal and personal limbo.

To better understand the situation faced by stateless people in UK, the UNHCR interviewed a selection of those who had an ongoing application or had been recently recognised as stateless. The resulting report, I am Human,’lays out the challenges they face, for example in obtaining evidence to support a statelessness leave application.

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Study of children joining family in England under the Dublin III Regulation

November 2020: IFF Research on behalf of Dept of Education:

This study has attempted to fill the evidence gap about what happens to Dublin III and Calais Camp Clearance children and young people, their support needs, and the experiences of the local authorities they move into, from the perspectives of staff within local authorities and the children/ young people and their families. It has found a mixed picture in terms of outcomes for children and young people, with the majority of those covered by the available data having become a looked after child at some point.

Family living arrangements broke down in around one-third of cases. Upfront assessments are sometimes squeezed by time or information and local authorities would feel more confident making recommendations if they could do a more in-depth, holistic assessment, which they felt would also help to identify potential issues that might affect the sustainability of the arrangement in the longer-term. This is important as the survey identified that relationship issues were the biggest factor in the breakdown of an arrangement. Assessments therefore need to look beyond finances and housing to consider wider issues such as how it will impact on the dynamics of wider family (which would involve a more in-depth assessment). Local authorities also emphasised the need to make very clear to families that no extra substantive financial support or housing support will be on offer, to manage their expectations.

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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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2020 Nov Public accounts committee: Asylum accommodation and support transformation programme

The Committee of Public Accounts is appointed by the House of Commons to examine “the accounts showing the appropriation of the sums granted by Parliament to meet the public expenditure, and of such other accounts laid before Parliament as the committee may think fit” (Standing Order No.148).

The report itself is here: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/3561/documents/34409/default/

Conclusions and recommendations

1.It is unacceptable that the Department has failed to engage adequately with local stakeholders. The Department and its providers have repeatedly failed to properly consult and communicate with local authorities and NHS providers, and local MPs on the use of hotels in their areas. We are concerned to hear that the Department moved service users that had contracted COVID-19 to a hotel in another local authority at the last minute and without notifying either the relevant local authority or the relevant NHS bodies affected. We are similarly concerned to hear that in another local authority, the provider had told the local authority but had not informed the local health commissioner that 160 asylum seekers were moving to a local hotel and would need medical services. Where plans are shared, this is not done so with enough time to allow health and well-being services to put the necessary support services in place. It is essential that the Department contacts local care commissioning groups or equivalent before relocating asylum seekers in their areas so that their medical needs can be properly catered for. The Department accepts it needs to improve how it works with local partners, but despite its claims to have redoubled efforts since we last discussed this issue in June 2020, MPs’ and local authorities’ concerns have continued.

Recommendation: The Department should, as a matter of urgency, communicate with NHS bodies, MPs and other key stakeholders such as police, setting out how it will consult and engage with them in future. The Department should write to the Committee within three months to confirm its approach.

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