This post follows on from the initial post which became very long, but can be found here Here we update the post with reports of atrocities around the army camp accommodation and hotels, and other Home Office plans to accommodate people in new sites.
See also posts regarding ‘Detention Centres‘ such as such as Hassockfield/Derwentside, and also the post regarding plans to export people seeking asylum to Rwanda
Re: children: https://statusnow4all.org/article-39-seeks-legal-protection-for-highly-vulnerable-children-housed-in-home-office-hotels/
Updated 2 May 2023: SNN signatory organisation Jesuit Refugee Service launches their report: Napier Barracks: the inhumane reality
an in-depth report of the experiences of men held in quasi-detention at Napier Barracks
DOWNLOAD THE REPORT
The Jesuit Refugee Service UK (JRS UK)’s report ‘Napier Barracks: the inhumane reality’ shines a light onto the experiences of people placed in the asylum camp at the disused Napier Barracks in Kent.
JRS UK ran an outreach service to Napier for two years from October 2020. What we saw on the ground was deeply troubling: the site was bleak and rundown, the setting was securitised, the accommodation was crowded. This all took a serious toll on mental health. The report draws from the accounts of 17 forcibly displaced people supported by JRS UK held in Napier Barracks between July and November 2022.
- Taken to an unknown place. People were routinely brought to the camp without their prior knowledge, and this caused deep anxiety.
- A daily struggle. Life at the camp was very difficult. The camp was noisy and crowded, and sleeping quarters comprised of large dormitories. Absence of privacy, and connected sleep deprivation, were structuring features of life at Napier. At the same time, Napier felt like a prison to many participants, partly because of its physical setting, and partly because
daily life there is tightly regimented. Many participants were forced to relive trauma at Napier, closely bound up with its physical camp setting, and its military and prison-like features. All of these things together were deeply damaging to people placed at Napier.
- Failing those with vulnerabilities. There were serious failures in screening for vulnerabilities at Napier, and survivors of both trafficking and torture continued to be placed and remain there, in contravention of the government’s own guidelines. Additionally, there are serious inadequacies in welfare support, and individuals face significant barriers to accessing healthcare.
- Lack of legal advice. It was also very difficult, sometimes indeed impossible, to secure legal advice whilst at Napier, and what legal representation was secured was frequently inadequate. This sits in the context of a wider crisis in asylum legal advice, but is made much worse by the fact that hundreds of people seeking asylum have been ghettoised in
a relatively remote location
Read more: https://www.jrsuk.net/napier-report/
Folkestone folk support the Napier report and the closure of Napier Barracks
Amidst suffering in Napier Barracks, refugees testified to the kindness of the local community
Read more: https://www.jrsuk.net/blog/folkestone-folk-support-the-napier-report-and-the-closure-of-napier-barracks/
Updated 22 April 2023: Guardian: Shared rooms, rancid food, no clothes: new report lays bare shocking conditions of those seeking refuge in UK
Asylum seekers are enduring conditions worse than prison as they wait in hotels for claims to be processed
Asylum seekers have been forced to live for a year in windowless rooms smaller than prison cells, served food so dire it is blamed for causing diabetes, and have spent days in their underwear because they only have one change of clothes.
These are the shocking conditions laid bare this weekend in a comprehensive report from the charity Migrant Voice, which took testimony from 170 asylum seekers staying in London hotels that are supposed to serve as short-term accommodation.
The charity has chronicled repeated accounts of overcrowding, “filthy rooms”, abusive and obstructive staff and “dangerously erratic” healthcare.
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/apr/22/shared-rooms-rancid-food-no-clothes-new-report-lays-bare-shocking-conditions-of-those-seeking-refuge-in-uk
Updated 11 April 2023: RightToRemain: Today, Mersyside Solidarity Knows No Border paid a noisy visit to Bibby Line Group HQ in #Liverpool.
Why? The firm is considering being a partner in the Government’s cruel plan to incarcerate people who are seeking asylum here – on their barge.
See also https://www.facebook.com/SKNBMerseyside
Morning Star: Protest staged in solidarity with refugee family forced into homelessness
A PROTEST was staged in Stockport today in support of a refugee family who are homeless because they left a hotel where conditions were so shocking they could not stay.
The family — Shay Babagar, his partner and their child — from Pakistan are currently sofa-surfing at the homes of supporters in the Greater Manchester town.
They say they have only £18 a week on which to live, and Mr Babagar has been staging a hunger strike in protest at his family’s plight.
Today’s protest in support of the family was staged outside Stockport’s social services offices and was supported by Stockport Tenants’ Union, Stand Up to Racism, Solidarity Knows No Borders, Stockport United Against Austerity, Greater Manchester Unite Community, Stockport NHS Watch and Red Roots Collective.
The family is being assisted by the Refugee & Asylum Participatory Action Research (Rapar) group.
Rhetta Moran of Rapar said: “They are in receipt of only £18 per week from the state and have faced continuous demands from the Home Office that they return to a Serco-managed hotel: a site of reported assault and abuse.
“They have also been accused of making themselves intentionally homeless.
“If your landlord is abusing you on a daily basis and you leave your accommodation, this does not mean that you are intending to be homeless.”
She said Stockport social services had refused to help the family and had told them it would be “unlawful” for the department to provide them with accommodation.
The department also threatened to call the police unless they left the office where they sought help.
Stockport Council and Serco have been contacted for comment.
Read more: https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/protest-staged-in-solidarity-with-refugee-family
Updated 29 March 2023: RAPAR: VERY URGENT UPDATE ON SHAY’S FAMILY ACCOMODATION – 29/03/23
Tomorrow (30/03/23) is the deadline for the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Home Office), Serco and Migrant Help to respond to the lawyers representing the family at the centre of Shay’s Family campaign, exposing SERCO and its human rights violations in the hotel in Stockport. The pre-action protocol letter sent to the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Serco and Migrant Help has put down a public law challenge to the suitability of accommodation and makes an urgent request for the family to be allocated dispersal accommodation.
Simultaneously, the family’s current hosts in Stockport cannot continue to offer temporary accommodation beyond tomorrow (30/03/23). Please read the email below sent first thing today to Stockport Social Services. There has been no response yet.
Read more: http://www.rapar.co.uk/seeking-safety.html
Guardian: Asylum seekers will get the most basic housing possible, says Robert Jenrick
Minister sets out plans to use old army bases and possibly ships to save money and dissuade people from coming to UK
Asylum seekers will be housed in the most basic accommodation possible, including disused army bases and possibly ships, to save money and to dissuade people from coming to the UK, the government has said.
In a Commons statement setting out the next stage in the plans to reduce asylum claims in the UK, Robert Jenrick, the immigration minister, said the plans would meet legal requirements to ensure that those who arrived were not made “destitute”, but nothing more.
“We must not elevate the wellbeing of illegal migrants above those of the British people,” he told MPs.
In one answer, Jenrick appeared to argue that the government had to remove incentives to arrive by small boats by being as ruthless as people smugglers: “They are some of the most evil, most pernicious people in society. You have to match them – you cannot behave in a way that is weak and naive.”
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/mar/29/asylum-seekers-housed-portakabins-maybe-ships-robert-jenrick
Urban Rot video’d inside the disused Northolt Prison recently and this is what they found:
Guardian: Boats, barges and big bills – the asylum options being chewed over in Whitehall
Former military bases and cruise ships are among alternatives to hotels to house people seeking asylum in UK
Ministers led by the home secretary, Suella Braverman, are desperate to stop the use of hotels at a cost of £6.2m a day for people seeking asylum in the UK. Conservative MPs are demanding extreme measures – here are some of the alternatives “not being ruled out” by the government.
The immigration minister, Robert Jenrick, confirmed on Wednesday that former RAF sites in Essex and Lincolnshire are earmarked for development – but the government must yet face down legal threats and anger from local Conservatives. James Cleverly, the foreign secretary, has already voiced his opposition to the Essex site, which is in his constituency.
A separate site on private land in Bexhill, East Sussex, will also be used, while Jenrick said Rishi Sunak was “showing leadership” by “bringing forward proposals” to use barracks in Catterick Garrison in his own constituency of Richmond, Yorkshire.
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/mar/29/boats-barges-and-big-bills-the-asylum-options-being-chewed-over-in-whitehall
Guardian: Home Office planning to house asylum seekers on disused cruise ships
Exclusive: Ministers facing growing anger from Tory backbenchers over use of hotels in their constituencies
The Home Office is planning to use disused cruise ships to house asylum seekers amid growing anger from Conservative backbenchers over the use of hotels in their constituencies.
Ministers are looking at possible vessels including a former cruise ship from Indonesia, which would be moored in south-west England, the Guardian understands.
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2023/mar/28/home-office-planning-to-house-asylum-seekers-on-disused-cruise-ships
Updated 25 March 2023: Sky News: Plans to house migrants in military bases or disused ferries to be announced in bid to clear hotels
Ministers have signalled they want to end the use of hotels as asylum seeker accommodation and instead use military bases or disused ferries.
Plans to house newly arriving migrants on military bases or even potentially disused ferries are expected to be announced by the government within weeks in a bid to clear hotels.
Ministers have already signalled that they want to end the use of hotels as asylum seeker accommodation.
Previous suggestions of using holiday camps and student halls are less likely to be brought into action.
It comes as Tory MPs prepare to mount a rebellion against Rishi Sunak’s illegal immigration bill next week.
A number of senior Tories and former ministers have signed an amendment that would carve out any role for the European Court of Human Rights from the UK process for handling illegal migration.
Read more: https://news.sky.com/story/plans-to-house-migrants-on-military-bases-and-disused-ferries-to-be-announced-within-weeks-12842083
Guardian: ‘You walked in and your heart sank’: the shocking inside story of Manston detention centre
Last year, the short-term facility in Kent ballooned into a vast, unsafe camp holding thousands of people, including children. How did our asylum system get so broken – and what does it reveal about Rishi Sunak’s promise to stop the small boats?
In late September last year, a Home Office employee walked into a newly opened section of the Manston short-term holding facility in Kent and realised that conditions there were spiralling out of control: “It had got way beyond what was ethical and humane.”
The site, a collection of marquees in the grounds of a former army barracks near a disused airport, was overcrowded, and staff were improvising increasingly unsuitable makeshift expansions. “There were people who’d been sleeping on a mat on the floor of a marquee for 20 days. We’d run out of space, so we were opening old bits of the site. They’d put some mats on the floor of the gym – a really old building. It looked like it was about to fall down. None of it had been set up with decent hygiene facilities, bedding or anything. You walked in and your heart just sank. I had a feeling of: ‘Oh my God, what have we got into here?’” says the official, who asked not to be identified.
“I saw people lying on opened-up cardboard boxes,” the employee recalls, briefly resting their head in their hands, as they speak for the first time about life inside the camp. The civil servant reported their concern to superiors in London. Some families had been there for nine nights, shut inside tents without access to fresh air: “It was pretty awful to see.”
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/mar/25/inside-story-of-manston-detention-centre
Updated 20 March 2023: BBC: Private firms profiting from asylum hotels
Private firms are making increased profits as the government pays millions of pounds a day to put up asylum seekers in the UK, the BBC has learned.
BBC News has been told 395 hotels are being used to house asylum seekers, as arrivals to the UK rose last year.
Documents show one booking agency used by the Home Office trebled its pre-tax profits from £2.1m to £6.3m in the 12 months up to February 2022.
The Home Office says the asylum system is under “incredible strain”.
The government has never publicly confirmed the number of hotels involved, but a government source told BBC News it is now using 395 to accommodate more than 51,000 asylum seekers, at a cost of more than £6m a day.
Of those hotels, 363 are in England, 20 in Northern Ireland, 10 in Scotland and two in Wales.
Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-64991234
Updated 7 March 2023: See: Article 39 seeks legal protection for highly vulnerable children housed in Home Office hotels https://qarn.org.uk/article-39-seeks-legal-protection-for-highly-vulnerable-children-housed-in-home-office-hotels/
See: Trade unions unite in solidarity with refugees https://statusnow4all.org/trade-unions-unite-in-solidarity-with-refugees/
2 March 2023: IRR: Attacks on asylum housing: from Ireland to Knowsley
Since our last newsletter in which we reported on the eruption of violence in Knowsley, Merseyside, we have seen the spreading of a relentless campaign targeting hotels accommodating asylum seekers across England, with protests in Rotherham, Skegness, Newquay, Long Eaton and Dunstable in the past weeks.
All this, as well as similar far-right mobilisations against asylum seekers in other European countries, is documented in our regular calendar of racism and resistance. To supplement this, on IRR News this week Sophia Siddiqui investigates what is underpinning the violent targeting of asylum seekers in the UK and in Ireland – which has been in the grip of anti-immigration demonstrations since last year – with far-right groups mobilising to gain footholds in local communities by spreading disinformation on violence against women and girls to fuel a moral panic.
Thankfully, the far-Right, in their noisy and nasty attempts to sow division, have been vastly outnumbered by counter-protesters who have mobilised quickly and decisively. Building on the insights and experiences of migrant solidarity groups, feminists, BME women’s refuges, LGBTQ communities, Travellers organisations and trade union activists, Siddiqui explores the harmful impact on minority communities, but also the intersectional solidarity that is now coming to the fore to confront far-right racism and misogyny.
Now, more than ever, unity at home and solidarity abroad is needed to counter the far Right, which, in creating mayhem, is exploiting the hostile environment towards asylum seekers that is built into the very design of state policy. Already we have seen curfews imposed on asylum seekers preventing them from leaving refugee accommodation – one of the ways in which the far-Right attacks have added a violent dimension to the hostile environment.
Read more from IRR: https://irr.org.uk/article/attacks-on-asylum-housing-from-ireland-to-knowsley/
IRR: Attacks on asylum housing: fighting the weaponisation of gender-based violence
Updated 19 February 2023: Guardian: Lone children as young as 14 detained at Manston asylum seeker centre
FoI request reveals data for six-month period in 2022, with some children held unlawfully for over 24 hours
Lone children as young as 14 have been detained at the Manston asylum seeker processing centre in Kent, a freedom of information request has revealed.
According to the immigration rules, children should not be detained in short-term holding facilities such as Manston, apart from in exceptional circumstances, and holding them for more than 24 hours is unlawful.
The Home Office revealed for the first time that between April and September 2022 it placed 17 children at Manston who they determined were between 14 and 17 years old. The freedom of information response showed that one child was 14; three were 15; six were 16; and seven were 17.
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/feb/19/children-manston-asylum-seeker-centre-home-office
Updated 18 February 2023: BBC: Asylum hotel disorder: Demonstrations held in Liverpool
Hundreds of people attended a rally in support of refugees following violence outside a Merseyside hotel housing asylum seekers a week ago.
Liverpool mayor Joanne Anderson and former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn joined the event, saying they wanted to “stand up for refugees”.
Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-64689140
Updated 17 February 2023: Justice Gap: Child protection concerns remain as number of asylum seekers in hotels soar
Pressure is increasing on the Government as evidence reveals the unsanitary physical conditions of contingency hotels and various safeguarding failures for asylum-seeking children. The Home Office has failed to end housing asylum seekers in hotels, despite its repeated pledge to end the practice. The Government’s data reflects a soaring number of asylum seekers placed in hotels since the pandemic, from 2,577 people in March 2020 to 37,142 in September 2022.
The Government has been slow to react to concerns over the hotels’ physical conditions and safety. Grassroots organisations, such as the Croydon Refugees and New Communities Forum, have campaigned to expose sites with rodent infestations, dampness, mould and leaks. Extended indefinite stays in these hotels, and the safeguarding failures therein, continue to have detrimental effects on the well-being and safety of asylum-seeking children.
Read more: Huihui Zhu, Justice Gap, https://rb.gy/rz3itj
13 February 2023: from our signatory organisation – Care4Calais: Knowsley hotel update
Yesterday we went back to the hotel to visit the asylum seekers and see if they were okay. The mood was muted. People were naturally disturbed. The most common things we heard were “We just want to be safe” “we haven’t done anything wrong” and “Please, can you help us move to another town?”
The saddest thing I heard was a man from Afganistan who said “I wasn’t safe in my country and I’m not safe here.”
We didn’t have much time but we took what we could to cheer them up. Boxes of fresh fruit, chocolate, lots of cakes, cans of coke and lemonade. Just small things, but they were so happy to see them. It was the gesture that mattered. The fact that some people had come to tell them that we cared. There were many smiles and handshakes.
But underlying it all they are trapped in that hotel. They can’t leave. They can’t go to the shop to buy a snack or cigarettes. So many told us they can’t sleep.
The situation is overwhelmingly sad. Every person in that hotel has had to leave their homes and their loved ones behind because of situations that they cannot control and did not ask for. No one does that by choice.
We met people from Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Iraq – these are some of the most dangerous places in the world. Their homes have been bombed, villages ransacked. Their children have been persecuted. Some have been horribly tortured.
They came here to ask for our help, believing the UK to be a place of sanctuary. And they have been met with hostility and fear.
Read more: https://care4calais.org/news/knowsley-hotel-update/
You can contribute at care4calais.enthuse.com/cf/3d0b/knowsley#!/I
Guardian: Minister condemns ‘unacceptable’ violence outside Knowsley asylum hotel
Andrew Mitchell says disorder in Merseyside ‘totally unjustifiable’ as government faces criticism over ‘dehumanising’ language
Violence outside a hotel housing asylum seekers in Knowsley was “completely unacceptable”, a minister has said, amid growing criticism of the government’s use of “dehumanising” language to describe people seeking refuge in the UK.
The international development minister, Andrew Mitchell, said the violent scenes in Merseyside on Friday night, in which a police van was set alight and stones were thrown, were “totally unjustifiable … and the government condemns it absolutely”.
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/feb/12/knowsley-hotel-asylum-seekers-merseyside-andrew-mitchell
11 February 2023: Care4Calais: Far right riots at Liverpool hotel
As I write this, I am trapped in a hotel car park in my home city of Liverpool, surrounded by a violent mob of far-right thugs.
Tonight that mob came to this hotel, the Suites in Knowsley, which is currently being used to house refugees who are victims of torture and war, to protest at the presence of refugees in the city. They say they did this to defend the British way of life; in fact they set fire to a police van, attacked the police and then tried to attack our peaceful counter-protest. Attacking those who uphold the country’s laws seems a funny way to defend said country. With friends like these, the British way of life might ask itself who needs enemies.
The night began with so much hope. About 150 counter protestors had arrived and were sharing friendship abd a spirit of solidarity with the refugees houses in the hotel. Many were new arrivals, and must have felt scared, so to be able to reassure them was good. But as the far right arrived it seemed huge numbers had been shipped in from out of town. Initial reports suggest there as many as 400.
There were a large squad of police, but with sheer weight of numbers and conspicuously good organisation, they broke through police lines and reached a van. They attacked and ransacked the van, and one thug clambered onto its roof before the mob set it on fire.
At this point extra police officers in riot gear arrived, and we became deeply concerned for our own safety and that of the refugees. It seemed all hell was breaking loose: shouting, fireworks being thrown, more fires lit, police vans with flashing lights arriving and then what seemed like the burning van exploding. As the mob advanced on the hotel, we were surrounded on three sides, and it became evident the police may not have enough resources to protect us from attack; we desperately barricaded the gates with any debris we could find, and hoped the police would be able to make a way out for us. Roads around the hotel have been closed. We are still here as I write.
The Labour MP for Knowsley, Sir George Howarth, had issued a statement shared by the local party in which he urged people not to take the law into their own hands.
He added, “the misinformation about refugees being feather-bedded is untrue and intended to paint a picture that does not at all represent the facts.
“The people of Knowsley are not bigots and are welcoming to people escaping from some of the most dangerous places in the world in search of a place of safety.
“Those demonstrating against refugees at this protest tonight do not represent this community. We are not like that and overwhelmingly behave with sympathy and kindness to others regardless of where they come from’.”
We can only hope people listen.
I am deeply shocked and shaken at what I have witnessed in Liverpool tonight. I have sympathy with anyone in our country who is concerned for our services or their own future, but terrorising victims of war and torture is unforgivable. The burning police van and broken police cordons are a sure sign that our politicians’ rhetoric of hate and division is now destroying our society and our British values. Looking at those demonstrators, I don’t believe they really care about our country; I think they’re full of hate, and looking for somewhere to direct it.
And like all bullies, they pick on the most vulnerable. That’s why my greatest concern is whether the police can keep the people in this hotel safe both tonight and in the future.
Read more: https://care4calais.org/news/far-right-riots-at-liverpool-hotel/
3 February 2023: Guardian: Afghan refugees protest against plans to move them from London to Yorkshire
Some of the refugees worked alongside British army before Taliban took power in 2021
Afghan refugees have protested against the UK government’s plans to move them 200 miles from London to Yorkshire amid claims that they could challenge the decision in the courts.
Carrying homemade placards saying “Do not disturb our education”, more than 120 people – including teenagers and toddlers – gathered outside Downing Street on Friday.
The Guardian disclosed on Thursday that the Home Office had told 40 families with 150 children who have lived for more than a year in Kensington, west London, that they must leave the capital next week for another hotel in Wetherby, on the outskirts of Leeds.
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/feb/03/afghan-refugees-protest-against-plans-to-move-them-from-london-to-yorkshire
31 January 2023: Guardian: Home Office publishes details of £70m contract to house asylum seekers
Charities have criticised ‘warehousing’ centres, calling instead for better integration in society
Details of a £70m contract to put asylum seekers into controversial accommodation centres have been published by the Home Office, the Guardian has learned.
The Home Office has said repeatedly it wants to move tens of thousands of asylum seekers out of hotels, which are costing about £5.6m a day. But its first attempt to set up such a centre at RAF Linton-on-Ouse, in North Yorkshire, stalled after local opposition, including from Conservative politicians and the threat of legal challenges. Since then no other concrete plans have emerged.
In December, the Home Office added the £70m project to its procurement pipeline, the mechanism that it says provides a formal look at its “anticipated outsourcing activity over the next 24 months”.
Officials aim to run a “mini-competition” for the contract to design, build or renovate these centres and to manage them. The programme is due to run from June. Charities have criticised the centres as acting as “warehousing”, advocating instead for asylum seekers to be accommodated in communities. They say these centres “blur the line” between detention and accommodation.
While the Home Office has frequently promoted the idea of accommodation centres, information about how they will operate has been scant. When the news emerged last August that the Linton-on-Ouse centre would not be going ahead, the defence secretary, Ben Wallace, said four other Ministry of Defence sites had also been made available to the Home Office “if they want to take it up”. It is not known where these sites are and whether plans are proceeding to develop any of them.
The Linton-on-Ouse proposal was to provide full-board accommodation for 1,500 single men for up to six months, with the contractor Serco due to manage the site. A shop as well as faith and medical services were planned.
Some contract information about the plans for a national portfolio of accommodation centres can be found on the website Bidstats. It states that “new-build sites utilising modular and/or modern methods of construction and/or traditional methods” along with “wraparound services including healthcare, safeguarding and education” are required. Consortiums are encouraged to get involved.
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/jan/29/home-office-publishes-details-of-70m-contract-to-house-asylum-seekers
28 January 2023: Guardian: Revealed: child migrants racially abused and threatened with violence at Home Office hotel
Whistleblower tells of threats and illegal detention in fresh revelations about failures that drove children into hands of criminals
Read more: The car drew up. The children got in … a narrow escape from kidnap
Children seeking asylum in the UK were threatened and subjected to racist abuse by staff at a Home Office-run hotel, a whistleblower has claimed as pressure grows on the government to act over the growing crisis in the system.
The source, who worked in the Brighton hotel for more than a year, said that in such an environment of “emotional abuse”, scores of children, who had arrived in the UK without parents or a carer, were driven on to the streets and into the hands of criminals.
An Observer investigation last week that revealed dozens of young people have been kidnapped by gangs from the same hotel, prompting calls for such places to be closed and for a public inquiry.
Child protection sources and a whistleblower working for a Home Office contractor described how youngsters were abducted from the street outside the hotel and bundled into cars. More than 200 children are missing after vanishing from hotels managed by the Home Office.
Another whistleblower has now come forward, claiming that some children in the Brighton hotel were also threatened that their asylum claims would be harmed if they “misbehaved” while others were punished by being detained – illegally – in the hotel for days.
I heard staff threatening to throw children out of the window, and joking about them going missing
The allegations of violent threats to youngsters – many of whom fled persecution in their home countries and are profoundly traumatised – will add to mounting pressure on Rishi Sunak to intervene and stop the Home Office’s “unlawful” use of hotels for unaccompanied children.
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/jan/28/child-migrants-racially-abused-home-office-hotel-brighton-criminals
Updated 25 January 2023: Guardian: Home Office accused of ‘dereliction of duty’ over missing child asylum seekers
Unclear who has legal responsibility for children placed in hotels, after dozens abducted from street in Brighton
Ministers have been accused of a “dereliction of duty” over their failure to find 76 child asylum seekers who have gone missing from a Brighton hotel managed by the Home Office.
The accusation came during a parliamentary debate on Tuesday after an Observer investigation that cited child protection sources and a whistleblower working for a Home Office contractor, who described how youngsters had been abducted off the street outside the Brighton hotel and bundled into cars.
Caroline Lucas, the local Green MP, tabled an urgent question asking what steps the government had taken to trace the missing children.
The immigration minister Robert Jenrick said more than 4,600 asylum-seeking children had been accommodated in six hotels since July 2021, and 440 of them had gone missing. Some were later found but 200 remained missing and 13 of them were under 16.
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2023/jan/24/home-office-accused-of-dereliction-of-duty-over-missing-asylum-seeking-children
Hansard: (Urgent Question): To ask the Home Secretary if she will make a statement on what steps she is taking to find missing unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and to keep them safe
You can read the debate here:
Read more: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2023-01-24/debates/290AF292-5D7E-411C-8FB8-A6E0F288365C/UnaccompaniedAsylum-SeekingChildren
21 December 2022: BBC: Migrants detained illegally, official email claims
Hundreds of migrants were illegally detained at immigration removal centres, according to Home Office emails obtained by BBC News.
The detention centres were used to hold about 450 people – described in one email as “overflow” from the migrant processing facility at Manston.
The email said their detention was “no longer legal,” adding: “We need to move them to hotels ASAP.”
The Home Office said an unprecedented number of small boat arrivals had put “huge pressure” on the asylum system.
The department said it had a legal duty to house asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute, and officials had worked “worked tirelessly to move people into hotels or other accommodation as quickly as possible”.
The email was sent on 4 November, the day after Home Secretary Suella Braverman visited Manston amid pressure to get a grip on overcrowding at the site.
According to a chain of emails, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the Home Office permanent secretaries – the department’s most senior civil servants – were made aware of the concerns at the time.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the emails “demonstrate the Home Office knew that they were breaking the law and lay bare how their chaotic failure to plan led to this situation”.
“Under [Ms Braverman’s] direction the Home Office has lost control of the system and has created potential substantial legal costs for the taxpayer.”
Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-64037136