Human Beings, Not Commodities: Status Now 4 All Summit

25 March 2021: People seeking asylum should be treated like human beings, says a major organisation supporting migrants.

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Responding to Home Secretary Priti Patel’s ‘biggest overhaul of the UK’s asylum system in decades’, Nazek Ramadan, the Executive Director of Migrant Voice who will be chairing the Status Now 4All Summit: One YearOn (https://statusnow4all.org/status-now-summit-one-year-on/) this Saturday, said:

“It is based on false premises – particularly on the actual availability of legal routes – and tears apart the principle of the right to claim asylum.

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Status Now Network Glossary of Key Terms

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Introduction

The UK Immigration System becomes increasingly complicated and unfit for purpose. In the 1970’s, when they began, the Immigration Rules covered 20 pages and now number 1100.  As the rules elongate so do the number of legal terms introduced by the Home Office.

Immigration terms can be confusing and imprecise.  In addition, very often, both politicians and media outlets use incorrect terminology.   

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“No one should fear accessing medical advice from our superb NHS due to an immigration reason.”

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Open Letter to Public Health England and other agencies:

“As PICUM (Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants) have most recently expressed:

“Any vaccination campaign, to be effective, has to cover virtually everyone. Including #undocumented people is not only humane, it’s also public health common sense. We’re all in this together, and only together can we win this battle.”

Here is our letter:

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SNN statement: Open safe pathways to UK, prevent more deaths in the sea

27 October 2020: Once again, people travelling in desperation have died in the Channel trying to find a safe place to live because there is no legal way to come here, while members of the UK Government talk of creating wave machines, and employing people to send the boats back, and make no secret of the crass, racist, hostile and heartless policies that they have put in place.

Why people are left to die in this way?

SNN member organisation RAPAR delivered a letter to the UK Government in 2015 on behalf of leaders in the Calais ‘Jungle’, offering the chance to listen to the people directly affected if they really wanted to do something humane, and that offer is still on the table. The Government had this opportunity five years ago and did not take it – how many lives have been lost in the interim? Read the report here: http://www.salfordnow.co.uk/2016/04/28/manchester-letter-calais-jungle/

It is outrageous, and terribly sad that we as a relatively comfortable country think it OK to treat others this way.

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Risk assessing hotels and barracks housing displaced people in the UK

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20 October 2020: Risk assessing hotels and barracks housing displaced people in the UK: Statement from StatusNow4All

We note that the role of the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration is to help improve the efficiency, effectiveness and consistency of the Home Office’s border and immigration functions through unfettered, impartial and evidence-based inspection.   

We note, in contrast, that the Home Office is attempting to side step this transparent system by hiring  a private risk management company, Human Applications (https://ergonomics.org.uk/humanapplications)  to provide a ‘rapid review of initial accommodation for single adult asylum seekers, including hotels and former military barracks, and provide assurance of compliance with public health guidelines to prevent the transmission of Covid 19.’   Hastily arranged with minimal, non-transparent and selective third sector involvement, the Home Office have stated that they do not intend to make this report public.  

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Statement exposing how Home Office plans to restart evictions and continue deportations are irrational and undermine public health

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On 15th September 2020, the Minister for Immigration Compliance and the Courts wrote to Local Authority Chief Executives – you can read the letter here: https://statusnow4all.org/condemnation-of-home-office-decision-to-start-evicting-asylum-seekers-despite-warning-of-second-wave/  

Three days later, 18th September 2020, the Public Accounts Committee  exposed that the Home Office has no idea of the impact of immigration policies and raised serious concerns over the work of the Home Office Immigration Enforcement directorate dating back over several years.  That Home Office ‘work’ has directly interfered in the lives of hundreds of thousands of displaced people, including children in families.  That ‘work’ has resulted in a myriad of humanity-denying actions authorised through Home Office powers, as most recently exemplified in the horrific death of Mercy Baguma.  From within Government structures, the 18th September report placed  massive questions marks over a multitude of migration related Home Office decisions.

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StatusNow4All backs peaceful demonstrations calling for Leave to Remain for undocumented migrants in the UK

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18th September 2020 PRESS RELEASE: STATUS NOW 4 ALL BACKS PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATIONS CALLING FOR LEAVE TO REMAIN FOR UNDOCUMENTED MIGRANTS IN THE UK

A national Day of Action is being held this weekend to call for an end to the Government’s Hostile Environment policy and for Leave to Remain to be given to all undocumented migrants in the UK.

Regularise, one of Status Now Network’s signatories, is organising a peaceful demonstration for the rights of undocumented migrants on Saturday, 19th September. It will be held from 1pm-4pm outside 10 Downing Street to ensure the Prime Minister Boris Johnson hears our call for Status Now.

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Status, Safety and Solidarity event 22 September 2020

[Updated 22.9.2020] Many thanks to everyone who attended or took part in this energising event.

You can watch the Zoom meeting here:

Status, Safety and Solidarity Now 4 All on Tuesday 22nd September with participation from MPs, trade unions, campaigners and those with lived experience, the focus being:

  • Building solidarity and dismantling the false divide between all workers, undocumented workers and the Trade Unions movement. 
  • Valuing the lives and livelihoods of all undocumented migrants and people with insecure status, as migrant rights are human rights.
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Mercy Baguma: The Legacy of the UKs Dysfunctional Asylum & Immigration System

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Yesterday, Prime Minister Johnson was compelled to respond to the child of Mercy Baguma, and the father of the child, after Mercy was found dead in a flat in Glasgow laying next to her distressed one year old son. Mercy had lost her Leave to Remain status (visa) and job, and was struggling to survive in the middle of a pandemic while she awaited a decision on her asylum application. Though Boris Johnson’s gesture to fast-track the resolution of the father of the child’s asylum case is in kind, it is too late for Mercy who died whilst in limbo and extreme poverty!

By implementing the proposal for the regularisation of undocumented migrants that he commissioned as Mayor of London more than a decade ago, this Prime Minister could prevent unecessary and sustained suffering for many, made worse by this pandemic. The UK government successfully ran a programme to resolve a backlog of 450,000 asylum cases (later extended to other people with insecure status) between 2007 to 2011, so why not take action now, in this time of crisis, to secure StatusNow4All?

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Leicester Mayor responds to SNN concerns

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2020 August 28: The Elected City Mayor of Leicester, Peter Soulsby has responded to Status Now Network’s approach to him to be aware that people seeking asylum were accosted by Britain First in a hotel in Bromsgrove, whilst in the care of Serco who housed them there. It is Serco’s practice to house people where they can temporarily as their current housing stock is full and under the terms of their contract they must accommodate new asylum seekers, so they are converting office blocks, but also using hotels. We suggested that Leicester Council needs to be aware that this behaviour by Britain First is attracting a lot of far right acclaim, and that it may happen in Leicester itself.

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PRESS RELEASE: The Status Now Network unconditionally condemns the actions of Members of Britain First

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29.8.2020: The Status Now Network unconditionally condemns the actions of Members of Britain First, a British, Fascist  political organisation formed in 2011 by former members of the British National Party. Britain First members have filmed people seeking asylum placed in hotels through the Government’s sub-contracted asylum system, and are now using their film, includes inflammatory words and phrases commentary, to ferment their anti-immigration stance.

Through its contract with The AASC providers – Serco, Clearsprings and Mears Group the Home Office has an inescapable duty of care towards these people seeking asylum.  The AASC providers  are subcontracting to, for example, Brittania Hotels and Holiday Inn but they retain responsibility for the care of the people in the hotels and they must immediately demonstrate that care.

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Cruel and unsafe to resume evictions and in-person reporting

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21 August 2020: In a last minute U-turn, the UK Government has been pressured to extend the ban on evictions of renters that had been planned to end this coming Sunday, 23 August. This means that from September 20th onwards people who rent will no longer have any of the emergency protections, put in place by the UK Government when COVID-19 first emerged in the spring of this year, that banned evictions across England and Wales. Without this protection, the spectre of mass evictions and a further surge in homelessness looms.

Among the millions of people facing severe financial difficulty, hundreds of thousands of renters are reported to now face eviction threats and homelessness.  In spite of temporary measures that were introduced to support some, systemic government failures that existed before COVID-19 are leaving people acutely vulnerable.

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Doubling up the desire to punish

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The fact that some of the 285 people (268 men, 17 women) deported to Eastern Europe by the British Government during the COVID-19 restrictions (April –June 2020) had spent criminal convictions – including a mother who had served a six month sentence and was separated from her 11 year old son – is a clear demonstration of the deep cynicism that is in line with both the UK Government’s indifference towards people with insecure immigration status, and their desire to doubly punish people who have fallen through the cracks of the legal system by stripping them off their right to remain.  

The fact that this deportation process cost £1,105,931, involved 374 immigration officers, and did not offer a single test to any person being deported, is further proof of the Government’s preparedness to place marginalised people, alongside those employed to deport them, and everyone they subsequently come across when they land – at risk of infection. 

This latest injustice, underlining as it does the fact that there is neither a rational public health approach towards the health and safety of the population as a whole or towards people with insecure status in particular, only reinforces the Status Now Network’s commitment to StatusNow4All.