8 February 2021: STOP PRESS: Everyone should have access to the vaccine but this reported Vaccine ‘Amnesty’ Declaration is a Trap and Won’t Work
- The virus cannot be effectively tackled and people cannot be kept safe until everyone currently in the UK has equal access to housing, healthcare, food, and any vaccine, and therefore equal status
- Addressing the question of people’s Status in the UK is the primary need
- Many people who are undocumented believe that they will be reported to the immigration authorities and/or subjected to the Hostile Environment if they come forward, and therefore this policy is doomed to failure
- Once Government commits to Status Now 4 All, everyone currently undocumented is going to be able to come forward
- This is the right time for a full regularisation – if not now – when?
Today’s mainstream media coverage about a UK Vaccine ‘Amnesty’ misses the critical point: declaring that everyone can now get the vaccine does not stop the people who don’t have documents – and therefore don’t have full rights in the UK – from fearing they will be detained and deported at the hands of the Government’s Hostile Environment if they come forward.
Throughout the COVID pandemic, Government commitment to its Hostile Environment policies has been demonstrated time and again. These immigration policies actively undermine any parallel health policy attempt to drive undocumented people into the ‘herd’ that needs to be vaccinated.
Status Now supports anyone who wants it, to get a COVID vaccine: to prevent people dying on the streets because, being without documents, they assume they are without rights and so fear accessing any vaccine. However, people will not simply turn up now at GP surgeries just because the Government tells them to. Deep mistrust understandably exists amongst many UK residents, citizens and non-citizens alike.
The direction of travel on the part of the UK government regarding tracking and tracing people is investigated here: Privacy International’s recent report has profound implications for any strategies that rely on firewalls between e.g. health and immigration systems. This research is clear: in the UK, private companies are heavily and extensively involved in plans for the convergence of Facial DNA and fingerprint data into a single biometric platform and a ‘status checking project’.
The only sincere public health approach is that which gives Indefinite Leave to Remain now to everyone in the UK who does not currently have it. For this reason, the Status Now Network wholeheartedly endorses EDM #1442: Undocumented migrants and covid-19 vaccination – Status Now 4 All.
Coordinated by Claudia Webbe MP for Leicester East, with the support of a wide range of MP’s, this early day motion entitled Undocumented migrants and covid-19 vaccination states:
That this House believes that access to essential healthcare is a universal human right; regrets the continued existence of structural, institutional and systemic barriers in accessing NHS care experienced by undocumented migrants and those awaiting determination of their asylum, visa and immigration applications; considers that an effective public health response to the covid-19 crisis requires that the most vulnerable can afford to access food, healthcare, and self-isolate where necessary; understands that some of the most vulnerable people in society will not access vaccination against the virus, since to disclose their identity to the authorities would risk their arrest, detention and deportation; fears that without urgent Government intervention this will lead to further avoidable premature deaths, especially in the African, Asian and Minority Ethnic population; and therefore calls on the Home Office to grant everyone currently in the UK at this time who are undocumented migrants and those awaiting determination of their asylum, visa and immigration applications indefinite leave to remain, and to be eligible in due course to receive the covid-19 vaccination.
For further information contact:
Telephone: Dr Rhetta Moran: 0044-7776264646
Updated 16 February 2021: