Ireland: Govt to replace Direct Provision with international protection system

26 February 2021: Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) : Statement on White Paper to end Direct Provision

The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) notes the publication of the White Paper on ending the abhorrent system of Direct Provision. MASI intends to discuss the White Paper at its weekly Tuesday meeting. At glance, there are some positives in the White Paper in relation to provision of income supports that are equal to the supports provided for Irish nationals. And the ending of shared intimate living spaces for families is to be welcomed. The White Paper is ambitious in some areas and lacks imagination in others.

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Stop The Deportation Of Vulnerable Autistic Man Osime Brown!

26 February 2021: The Canary: Here’s how you can support the campaign to stop the deportation of Osime Brown

Update on ideas about how to get involved here

also Emma Dalmayne started this petition to Priti Patel and 1 other

Osime Brown is 22 years old, he is profoundly autistic and developmentally younger than his peers. Osime is also learning disabled, dyslexic and due to his time in care has since been diagnosed with PTSD, and suffers with depression.

Osime was jailed in 2018 over the theft of a phone in a street robbery, despite a witness for the defence stating Osime had not taken the phone and had in fact asked the other teens carrying out the robbery to stop. He got 5 year’s in prison under the Joint Enterprise Law, it was also ordered that upon his release he be taken to a detention centre and be deported to Jamaica. 

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Are Workers Becoming Covid Commodities?

It’s official. Workers are just commodities. The Philippines Government wants to trade nurses with the UK and Germany in exchange for vaccines.

The Philippines is one of the world’s largest suppliers of nurses to the rich world’s hospitals and health care services. Even though its own health services are desperately short of doctors and nurses, its government exports them as a major source of foreign exchange. However, when COVID19 broke out, President Duterte decided to keep Filipino nurses in the country and put a cap on the numbers allowed to go abroad.

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Concerns about the use of army barracks etc.

This post is being updated with reports of atrocities around the army camp accommodation, and other Home Office plans to accommodate people in new sites:

Updated 24 February 2021: Home Affairs Select Committee: Home Secretary questioned on the work of the department

[Extract] Q94            Stuart C. McDonald: Good morning to our witnesses. I want to turn now to the issue of asylum accommodation, particularly contingency accommodation, including military barracks. Mr Rycroft, can I ask you first about some of the advice and research the Home Office has done? We have received a lot of evidence that the military barracks are in pretty disgraceful conditions and that there are wider problems with contingency accommodation, so I want to dig down into what the Home Office relies on when it disputes that evidence. For example, could I ask about the following documents and whether they are publicly available? There is an equality impact assessment about the use of barracks that has featured in the newspapers. Is that publicly available?

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The Right to Food: Liverpool and Manchester

Food poverty: Food poverty is commonly defined as ‘the inability to acquire or consume an adequate or sufficient quantity of food in socially acceptable ways, or the uncertainty that one will be able to do so’.

It can have a detrimental impact on physical and psychological wellbeing so it’s important for a person to have access to and the choice of an affordable, acceptable and healthy diet throughout their life

Public Health Scotland

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Life in ‘contingency units’

The Home Office says that people are assessed as to their suitability for life in the camps – Penally and Napier – people who have been sent to the camps said that there was no assessment carried out to their knowledge, other than on first arrival when they may not have fully understood the situation or the language (or interpreter). 

In relation to social distancing, people who have been living in the camps describe sharing sleeping areas with many other people, having to use communal showers, sharing toilets with many others,  eating in a large area which everyone is expected to use,  one communal room for socialising for everyone where the internet signal could be found and the (two) TVs were kept.  

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Fewer than one in six ‘hostile environment’ raids led to deportations

21 February 2021: Guardian: 190 ‘intelligence-led’ raids on cares homes results in 37 care workers removed from UK

Fewer than one in six of more than 44,000 “intelligence-led” Home Office immigration enforcement raids on people’s homes since the introduction of the “hostile environment” policy have resulted in deportations, according to data obtained by the Guardian.

According to a freedom of information (FoI) response provided to the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants by the Home Office, between 2015 and 2019 there were 44,225 raids on private homes resulting in just 7,578 people deported. There were also 190 raids carried out on care homes resulting in just 37 care workers removed from the UK.

[…] Susan Cueva, trustee at Kanlungan Filipino Consortium, which works with migrants including those working in care homes said: “We know that care homes lack staff. The Home Office should stop raiding care homes. It is counter-productive. The solution is to regularise the immigration status of these workers who are carers. That’s the most practical way to deal with this situation.”

She said that if any undocumented workers were working in care homes they were more likely to be indirectly employed, but to come through other routes. This could be one reason why Home Office raids on care homes appear to have such a low success rate.

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Covid-19 And The Surge In Domestic Abuse In The UK

People who are undocumented are at real risk of being sucked into abusive relationships in order to survive, and once there, it is very very difficult to leave.

Women’s Aid: Domestic abuse can include, but is not limited to, the following:

At this time of Covid-19, people subjected to domestic abuse are very isolated, and have fewer chances to leave the house, for example children are not at school, shopping is kept to a minimum; and tensions indoors mount.

We know that people subjected to such abuse are often frequently lied to about being believed, or they are told their children will be removed, that their whereabouts will be reported to the Home Office which will potentially lead to the risk of immigration detention and removal from UK in this hostile environment, and they now are fearful of breaking Covid lockdown rules.

The impact of the ‘toxic trio’ of drug abuse, mental health issues and alcohol is well-known to raise concerns about risk of domestic abuse. When undocumented status is added to this toxic mix, the potential for ongoing serious risk of harm is massively increased.

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Home Office ignored Covid advice not to put asylum seekers in barracks

16 February 2021 Guardian: Public Health England warned against using Napier facility before outbreak of coronavirus, court hears

The Home Office ignored advice from Public Health England that housing asylum seekers in dormitories in army barracks was inappropriate in a pandemic, months before an outbreak of 120 Covid cases.

In a high court hearing on Tuesday – brought by six asylum seekers who claim that conditions at the barracks are inhumane – the Home Office conceded that it was arguable that the use of Napier barracks to house the group was unlawful and in breach of human rights.

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Is personal data of those seeking access to NHS services shared with immigration enforcement authorities.

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 15th February 2021.

Claudia Webbe Labour, Leicester East: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the personal data of those seeking access to NHS services is shared with immigration enforcement authorities.

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Home Office needs reform to avoid a second Windrush scandal, thinktank report says

9 February 2021: Yorkshire Post: The Home Office is at risk of being at the heart of another Windrush scandal if it does not end its “hostile environment” policy, a new report has warned.

The “hostile environment” group of policies, which were introduced by the then Home Secretary Theresa May in the coalition government in 2012, were designed to discourage people settling in the UK without leave to remain.

They include access to services such as the NHS or housing being restricted if immigrants cannot prove their legal right to remain in the UK.

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Hostile Environment: Fear is stopping migrants getting the Covid-19 vaccine jab, research suggests

8 February 2021: Morning Star: MORE than 80 per cent of undocumented migrants are too fearful to access the Covid-19 vaccine due to NHS charges and data sharing with the Home Office, new research suggests.

The government stressed today that everyone, regardless of their immigration status, will be offered the vaccine without any checks on their right to be in the country.

But campaigners have warned that reassuring people is not enough to ensure that they feel confident to access healthcare without facing repercussions from immigration enforcement.

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