Aspen cards and surveillance of people in the asylum system

Reports coming in from around the country about serious delays in the changeover of ‘Aspen’ card provider on 21 May 2021, leaving people destitute; see the Home Office ‘fix’ as an attachment below … but people are still without money for food two weeks later.

Updated 14 June 2021: Faith is still waiting … see the post below of 7 June 2021.

11 June 2021: Independent: Fifty Charities Urge Home Office to Act on ‘Crisis’ in Asylum Support Payments

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Campaign against the multinational Mitie recruitment of workers in the new women-only detention facility, Hassockfield

Dear friends,

Abolish Detention, which is campaigning to prevent the opening of a detention centre in Hassockfield/Medomsley, is asking for support for a campaign against the multinational Mitie which is running adverts to recruit people to run its new women only detention prison near Durham. Mitie was condemned by the prison inspectorate in 2016 which said its immigration detention centres were “dirty”, “rundown” and “insanitary. It is one of  the UK’s biggest detention profiteers: it runs the two Heathrow detention centres and has a £525 million deportation “escorting” contract with an annual turnover of £2.2billion.

Please join the campaign and take action – see below for what you can do – thank you.

Global Women Against Deportations

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Refugee Week 2021: We cannot walk alone

If you have a Refugee Week event that you want us to mention below, please do contact us at

From Refugee Week organisers: Theme of Refugee Week 2021: We Cannot Walk Alone

There is a moment in Martin Luther King’s historic ‘I have a dream’ speech when he turns his attention to the White people who, realising their destiny and that of their Black fellow citizens was intertwined, joined the movement for equal rights.

“They have come to realise that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom,” he said. “We cannot walk alone.”[…]

The theme of Refugee Week 2021, ‘We Cannot Walk Alone’, is an invitation to extend your hand to someone new. Someone who is outside your current circle, has had an experience you haven’t, or is fighting for a cause you aren’t yet involved in.

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The Walk: Hope. Too BIG to ignore.

Updated 14 June 2021: The Walk Education Programme

From July to November 2021 a giant puppet of a 9-year-old Syrian refugee girl called Little Amal will walk from the Syria-Turkey border, across Europe to the UK, travelling 8,000km to focus awareness on the refugee crisis.

Before, during and after her journey Little Amal will connect people from refugee and non-refugee communities through creative learning projects to help forge lasting bonds of friendship. The Walk‘s Education programme will be developed by, with and for each community, responding to local realities with a focus on bringing people together through projects that transcend borders, culture and language. Working with all age groups, we aspire to build a programme of workshops, performances and apprenticeships that celebrates migration and has the potential to empower what might otherwise be a lost generation of refugee children:

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Together with Refugees

QARN has signed up to the Together With Refugees campaign

‘We are calling for a kinder, fairer and more effective approach to supporting refugees in the UK. Be part of a shared movement for change’.

How we treat refugees reflects who we are. At our best, we are welcoming to those facing difficult times. Yet too often people fleeing war, persecution or violence are treated with hostility in the UK, rather than compassion.

Together With Refugees brings together people and movements to stand against the divisiveness and hate directed at refugees. It will show that most people support a fairer, more effective and compassionate approach – and that refugees have always been part of the UK. It’s who we are

With your support, we are calling for a kinder, fairer and more effective approach to supporting refugees. 

Read more here:

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?

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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EDM #7 – Regularisation of undocumented migrants

That this House recognises that there are many barriers that prevent people from accessing and maintaining stable immigration status even when they were either born in the UK or have lived in the UK for many years; further recognises that the majority of undocumented migrants have lost their status through no fault of their own, including through an inability to pay application fees, lack of access to legal advice, mistakes on the part of decision-makers and complexity of immigration rules; understands that the harm done to individuals through hostile immigration policies extends to family members and the communities that they are part of; notes that the UK has one of the most complex and expensive routes to regularisation in Europe; further notes that all current routes to regularisation and settlement are far too long, complicated and inflexible, leaving people with no options but to live undocumented; understands that migrants who do not have access to the public safety net or the right to work are vulnerable to exploitation and; and calls on the Government to support recommendations made by Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants in its report, We Are Here: routes to regularisation for the UK’s undocumented population, published in April 2021 by introducing new routes to regularisation and removing barriers which cause migrants to become undocumented.

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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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22 May 2021 – a day of solidarity at Napier Barracks!

Close The Camps UK: We are a coalition of grass-roots groups organising against the Home Office housing of asylum seekers in Napier Barracks, an old army accommodation in Kent that has been declared unfit for purpose. Join us on 22 May for a day of solidarity at Napier Barracks!

Hello friends, comrades, chosen family and fellow workers. 

Hello siblings of colour, migrants and asylum seekers, LGBT and sex workers fam, poor and working class folks, Gypsy, Roma and Travelers, feminists, trade unionists, activists and all those who stand in solidarity with us to oppose state violence. 

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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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