Status Now Newsletter November 2021

New Home
by Loraine Masiya Mponela 

I have been exposed to the love
of strangers, seen smiles directed at me
and the smiling eyes with mouths covered
with masks. 

It has been eye opening to know
that so much love exists, that a homeless girl
can share a life and be provided with a home
away from home 

It has been mind blowing
and humbling to experience greatness alongside
great leaders, campaigning shoulder to shoulder 

I have seen the better side of humanity
love instead of hate. It warms my heart that
humanity is in a better place
in its care for other humans. 

Note: Loraine is a member of CARAG, a SNN signatory

Continue reading “Status Now Newsletter November 2021”

The immigration detention estate for women

Updated 23 November 2021: Re: Hassockfield/Consett/Derwentside immigration detention centre to house women will open by the end of 2021!

iNews: As migrant channel crossings hit a new record, insiders says centres like Yarl’s Wood can never be humane

For 20 years, Yarl’s Wood has been holding asylum seekers without time limits. Now a controversial new centre is replacing it to hold women. Is it time to call an end to detention?

Agnes Tanoh still remembers the fear of being taken into Yarl’s Wood, nearly a decade on. “You walk through the gates,” says the 65-year-old Ivorian refugee, “and the tunnel you take to reach the first office destroys your mind. I thought, ‘I am going somewhere I may never leave.’”

It was March 2012 when Tanoh was arrested and taken to the notorious immigration detention centre in Bedfordshire. After the disturbing ordeal of fleeing her home country the previous year, with her life at risk, she was incarcerated indefinitely as she awaited news of her fate.

“You haven’t defended yourself at trial,” she explains. “Being taken to a detention centre is being given a sentence without a time limit. It can be one week, three months, one year – you don’t know. Detention breaks families and causes distress and trauma.”

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ICIBI: An inspection of asylum casework (August 2020 – May 2021)

People have been left waiting in the asylum system with no certainty about their future for long periods of time. We call for StatusNow for all – Indefinite Leave to Remain #healthandsafetyforall:

Updated 24 Novemer 2021: BBC – Brook House detention centre whistleblower ‘abuse’ inquiry begins

A public inquiry into the mistreatment of immigration detainees has heard a BBC Panorama documentary revealed “shocking” treatment which had “no place in a decent and humane” system.

The inquiry into Brook House removal centre, near Gatwick, is examining mistreatment of detainees, as well as the attitudes and culture of staff.

It follows a series of investigations triggered by Panorama in 2017.

At the time, G4S ran the Sussex centre, but Serco took it over last year.

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-59388291

ICIBI – Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration: An inspection of asylum casework (August 2020 – May 2021) This report will have been with the Home Office for some time before its release. This report was sent to the Home Secretary on 23 July 2021.

18 November 2021: Publishing the report, David Neal said:

I welcome the publication of this report, which explored the efficacy of the Home Office’s ability to make timely and good quality asylum decisions. It examined resourcing, training, workflow, case progression and the prioritisation of cases, as well as the quality of interviews, decisions and quality assurance mechanisms.

The inspection began at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. While the pandemic had impacted asylum operations, most, if not all, of the issues identified by this inspection predate it. Primarily, the Home Office is still failing to keep on top of the number of asylum decisions it is required to make. The inspection found that the length of time asylum claimants had waited for a decision increased annually since 2011. In 2020, adult asylum claimants were waiting an average of 449 days. This increased to 550 days for unaccompanied asylum seeking children.

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Start with Hope, Change will follow

Little Amal’s Walk: Start with Hope, change will follow: https://www.goodchance.org.uk/stories/2021/10/4/little-amals-uk-plans-revelead

also https://www.walkwithamal.org/events/

Amare has invited Little Amal to visit The Hague from 15 to 21 November 2021 and will welcome her as a special guest at the Open Festival on 19, 20 and 21 November.

“After the immense welcome Little Amal has received from so many thousands of people across the 8000km of The Walk, her visit to The Hague – city of Peace and Justice – is an important next step in the new journey and the new life of Little Amal. As Amare itself begins a new journey and a new life, it is right that Amal should open this new centre of art and welcome.” – Amir Nizar Zuabi

https://www.walkwithamal.org/amare/

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COVID-19 has also laid bare existing fault lines within society and has exacerbated inequalities.

Updated 11 November 2021: Kanlungan Filipino Consortium@kanlunganuk From today, care home workers must prove they are double jabbed through the NHS COVID pass but for people who don’t have a GP or NHS number, this will be impossible. Our Advocacy and Campaigns Officer explains here why barriers to healthcare for migrants must be removed (South East London BBC News)

NEON@NEON_UK · : We really need to focus on making sure that health care is accessible to all in this country, especially in the pandemic. It’s just another example of how the government’s immigration policy makes no sense from a public health perspective. @FrancescaHumi on @BBCNews today.

Continue reading “COVID-19 has also laid bare existing fault lines within society and has exacerbated inequalities.”

Cause Célèbre

Updated 10 November 2021: BBC – Asylum seeker inquest: Immigration officers may have had role in death

Immigration officers’ actions could have contributed to the death of an asylum seeker in Newport, an inquest jury has concluded.

Mustafa Dawood, 23, suffered head injuries when he fell from the roof of a car wash while being chased by officers.

[…] The inquest at Gwent Coroner’s Court heard immigration officers had arrived at Albany Trading Estate just after 10:00 GMT on 30 June 2018 following intelligence that foreign nationals were working there illegally.

They chased Mr Dawood, who ran onto the roof of a warehouse, believing he would be arrested.

The officer in charge, Matthew Day, said he called off the pursuit due to concern about Mr Dawood’s safety.

However other officers present that day said they did not remember receiving an order to stop.

While running away, Mr Dawood fell through plastic roofing into a locked room below, where he was eventually found with “severe and fatal” head wounds.

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-59179411

History repeated, “Death of Joy Gardner” (Wikipedia), a 40-year-old Jamaican mature student living in London, England, United Kingdom. Gardner died after being detained during a police immigration raid on her home in Crouch End, when she was restrained with handcuffs and leather straps and gagged with a 13-foot length of adhesive tape wrapped around her head. Unable to breathe, she collapsed and suffered brain damage due to asphyxia. She was placed on life support but died following a cardiac arrest four days later. In 1995, three of the police officers involved stood trial for Gardner’s manslaughter, but were acquitted.

Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Joy_Gardner

Motion for use by Trade Union bodies

This motion for use by Status Now Supporters has been produced by the reference group as a short motion to go, suitably amended, to trade union bodies, including national and regional conferences. We do need to get more trade union support in order to deliver on our core demand Status Now For All – indefinite leave to remain.

‘Conference condemns the continued political and physical attacks on refugees, asylum seekers and others without their status in the UK. Conference accepts that many people, even with the right to work, are often in precarious situations due to their immigration status. Conference reaffirms the right of all workers to employment which is safe and secure. To this end Conference supports the call made by a number of migrant bodies, anti-racist, poverty eradication groups and others that all undocumented and precarious people residing in the UK should be granted indefinite leave to remain.’

Status Now leaflet: On COP 26

StatusNow logo

6 November 2021: Status Now leaflet: On COP 26

Solutions to this global crisis must move beyond man-made political borders.

The climate and biodiversity catastrophe that continues to compel the movements of people across these borders around the world can only stop when, in their turn, the UK Government and other Western states become compelled to abandon the drive for profit which underpins their wars and their immigration and public health policies. 

The Status Now Network (SNN) is comprised of people who, being without secure status, are among the most vulnerable, marginalised, and disempowered in our society, alongside indigenous people.  It includes many who have been forced, directly or indirectly, to flee to the Global North because of the ecological impact of climate change and bio-diversity destruction in their homelands. 

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