The Very Definition of “Not Glamorous”
Here is a collection of recent stories we found in the news. We want to share them with you, as they reflect the experience and barriers our clients and case workers face each day, and we’d like them to be more prominent in the news.
UK asylum seekers at unprecedented risk of suicide amid deportation threat
The Independent Monitoring Board has reported that between July and December, one third of detainees at Brook House Immigration Removal Centre near Gatwick were placed on suicide watch. This coincides with the period when Government Officials were trying to remove as many small-boat asylum seekers as possible to beat a Brexit deadline of December 2020, when the UK’s right to return asylum seekers to an EU country they had passed through was due to end. (Source: The Guardian, 21st May)
Thousands of Asylum Seekers go hungry after cash card problems
The charity Positive Action in Housing reported on a Home Office estimate that one third of asylum seekers had experienced problems with their new cards.
These debit cards, known as Aspen cards, allow asylum seekers access to the financial support provided by the government. The service was taken over by a company called Prepaid Financial Services on 21 May, contracted by the Home Office to provide £39.63 per week.
Recipients reported problems such as the card arriving with the wrong name on it, or no money being loaded. (Source: The Guardian, 1st June)
Napier Barracks – Housing migrants at barracks unlawful, court rules
The Home Office decision to house cross-channel migrants in a “squalid” barracks in Folkestone was unlawful, the High Court has ruled. Following the ruling, national charity Refugee Action, the human rights group Liberty, and the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, called for the immediate closure of the site.
The Judge declined to rule that the barracks could never be used to house migrants, but called for “substantial improvements”. (Source: The Guardian, 3rd June)
Home Secretary seeks ban on media posts that “glamourise” migrant crossings
Priti Patel has been accused of attempting to deflect blame for the UK government’s failure to assist refugees after she wrote to social media companies urging them to do more to remove “totally unacceptable clips” that she said promote “lethal crossings”.
However, campaigners suggest Patel should look closer to home.
Minnie Rahmen, campaigns director at the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, said: “Patel has chosen to take a frantic, chaotic and irresponsible approach to the asylum system, which will only push desperate people into the hands of people smugglers and make journeys more deadly. The government must […] stay committed to the Refugee Convention and ensure people are able to travel to the UK safely.” (Source: The Guardian, 6th June)