Status Now newsletter: June 2022

10 years of hostile environment: It’s time to change!

Last month marked the tenth anniversary since the then home secretary, Theresa May, declared the aim of building a hostile environment for migrants in the UK.

The policies which followed have produced scandal after scandal, with the infamous undermining of the rights of people from the Windrush generation of Caribbean migrants being only the most well-known.  There is scarcely any group of people who came from abroad – whether they be refugees, migrant workers, students, or the family members of people settled here who haven’t felt the harsh consequences of this set of policies.

The government made the mistake of thinking that the hostile environment would be popular with the majority of people in the UK, but that hasn’t been the case.  Right from the early days of its ‘Go Home vans’ campaign, through to the refusal to provide sanctuary to asylum seekers corralled on the wrong side of the English Channel, the shocked response to what was inflicted on Windrush generation people, and taking in solidarity shown to migrant workers in the key posts that kept the country running during the worst period of the Covid pandemic, more and more people have been showing a willingness to take the side of people who are trying to settle into normal lives in the UK.

The Status Now Network grew out of this popular reaction to the hostile environment.  We are working today to win greater recognition of the injustices being inflicted on people settling in the UK, and for the solidarity that will be needed to defeat the threat that the hostile environment poses to their lives.  Our demands remain:
End the hostile environment!
Status Now, for all!
 
The Hostile Environment: How do we hold the Government to account?
 
The Home Office’s immigration policies have taken a battering over the course of the last few years. The public response to Go Home van campaigns and the Windrush generation scandal has shown increased awareness of the injustice being inflicted on migrant and refugee people.

Despite the mounting tide of criticism, Priti Patel and her colleagues have stuck firmly to the line of the hostile environment and are continuing to plot a new offensive against migrants and refugees that will come straight from the ‘culture wars’ playbook.
How should the grassroots migrant and refugee rights movement square up to this challenge? What sort of projects do we need to embark on that will unite the different sites of resistance to immigration policies and consolidate a united front opposition to entrenched racism in this area of policy?

The Status Now Network is working to open up a discussion about the role that a People’s Tribunal might play in indicting government policy and relating all its aspects back to a full frontal assault of all working people in the country today.

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Public Order Bill is a threat

28 May 2022: Read about the Bill below Follow the Public Order Bill as it makes its way through Parliament here:

https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/3153 Dates and related documents are here: https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/3153/stages

28 May 2022: Sign the petition: 38 Degrees: To: Priti Patel, Home Secretary: Don’t electronically tag innocent people for attending protests

Don't electronically tag innocent people for attending protests

Contact Campaign CreatorCampaign created byBig Brother Watch 

Remove protest banning orders and electronic tagging from the Public Order Bill

Why is this important?

The Government’s new Public Order Bill would allow police to put innocent people on electronic ankle tags and ban them from attending marches and demonstrations.

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StatusNow4All at PCS Conference

24 May 2022 StatusNow4All at PCS Conference

25 May 2022: The Guardian: Home Office staff worry they may be asked to act illegally in ‘culture of fear’.

After 10 years of hostile environment, critics say immigration crackdown has had devastating human cost

Frontline Home Office staff have warned of a “culture of fear” where they are being put into dangerous situations, and may be asked to act illegally, on the 10th anniversary of the launch of the hostile environment.

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BID and Liberty call for an end to intrusive GPS monitoring

This has direct impact on time-served prisoners who are ‘released’ on immigration bail:

Updated with article dated 23 May 2022: Privacy International: PI submission on the GPS Tracking of Migrants in the UK

Privacy International has made a submission to the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration inspection of the Home Office Satellite Tracking Service Programme. We highlighted some of our concerns about the intrusive nature of location data as well as systemic failures relating to the quality of tags and battery life of devices which have a significant impact on individuals, as battery depletion can result in criminal prosecution.

Updated with Privacy International article dated 9 February 2022: Electronic monitoring using GPS tags: a tech primer

Electronic tags have been a key part of criminal justice for many years throughout the world. As traditional radio-frequency tags are replaced by GPS ankle tags, we examine how these different technologies work and the seismic shift that will result from 24/7 location monitoring and data analytics, enabled by GPS tags.

Read more: https://privacyinternational.org/explainer/4796/electronic-monitoring-using-gps-tags-tech-primer


14 June 2021: from BID and Liberty: Our letter, signed by 42 organisations, was covered in an article below in the Guardian

The most recent Home Office bail policy sets out its plan to transition from radio frequency
monitoring to GPS monitoring for people on immigration bail. Whereas radio frequency monitoring can verify whether a person is where they should be at a given time, GPS monitoring provides 24/7 real time location monitoring, tracking an individual’s every move: it tells you where someone has gone, where they have shopped, what GP’s practice they have been to, and much more. Those who are being monitored in this way do not know when the ordeal will end because there is no time limit for how long people will be tracked.

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Channel Crossings

Events and petitions below:

Updated 21 May 2022: BBC: Point of View:

‘Over the centuries’, writes Michael Morpurgo, ‘we have been a safe haven to so many, and they have helped make us the people we are today – at our best, a deeply humanitarian people. I fear we are not at our best today’. Michael argues that, although we need to address the issue of people smuggling and deaths from dangerous Channel crossings, we must not lose our capacity for kindness and ‘generosity of spirit’ towards those who need our help.

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Barriers to Wellbeing

Updated 6 May 2022: Women and Equalities Committee: Subject: Equality and the UK asylum process Wednesday 27 April 2022

Witness(es): Rosalind Bragg, Director, Maternity Action; Ms Rivka Shaw, Policy Officer, Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU) – SNN signatories; Esther Muchena, Asylum Service Manager, Scottish Refugee Council

A person from RAPAR reports: I was approached by Greater Manchester Immigration Unit (GMIU) to give my experience on the Asylum system which ranges from dilapidated accommodation, NHS cost, long stay in the system etc The GMIU lady made a presentation of this issues at the Parliament- Women and Equalities committee held on the 27th April 22.

This is the video clip. https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/80d5df93-25d6-4c74-987c-56f5481d3b64


Edinburgh Evening News: Edinburgh residents gather in Nicholson Square after immigration officers seen at Beirut restaurant

Hundreds of protesters stood united, some shouting angry chants and others in floods of tears, as an impromptu demonstation forced an apparent immigration raid to be abandoned in the centre of Edinburgh.

Read more: https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/edinburgh-residents-gather-in-nicholson-square-after-immigration-officers-seen-at-beirut-restaurant-3682568

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Precarious migrants and COVID-19 responses: leave no one behind

Science Direct: Precarious migrants and COVID-19 responses: leave no one behind

Authors: M.-C.Van Hout C.Bigland A.Marsden A.Bangura F.Ngcobo L.M.Mponela G.McMahon

The continuous rise in forced displacement worldwide is alarming. Global inequality continues to fuel migration. The most recent Global Trends report by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reveals a concerning rise in forced displacement globally, with 82.4 million people displaced worldwide, with children representing 42%, with 1 million born in displacement between 2018 and 2020. According to the United Nations Migration Agency’s (IOM) World Migration Report 2022, global displacement is rising despite COVID-19 restrictions.

Estimating the numbers of precarious migrants is difficult. The population is de facto hidden. In Europe, it is estimated that between 3.9 and 4.8 million precarious migrants lived in Europe in 2017, an increase on 2014, but stable since 2016. In the United Kingdom, the estimated population of precarious migrants ranges between 417,000 and 863,000, including a population of UK-born children ranging between 44,000 and 144,000.

Read more: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0033350622000828

ICIBI: Inspection Report on Country of Origin Information: Ethiopia, Iran and Zimbabwe_January 2022

ICIBI: Inspection Report on Country of Origin Information: Ethiopia, Iran and Zimbabwe_January 2022

This is a report by Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration – ICIBI, who have examined the Country Guidance documents about Ethiopia (page 8), Iran (page 36), and Zimbabwe (page 74). These are important documents because they inform caseworkers’ decisions about asylum claims. The whole report with the Home Office replies is here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1071564/Inspection_Report_on_Country_of_Origin_Information__Ethiopia__Iran_and_Zimbabwe_January_2022.pdf

Home Office response in full: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/response-to-an-icibi-report-on-country-of-origin-information/response-to-an-icibi-report-on-country-of-origin-information-accessible-version

Modern Slavery and Trafficking

Updated 21 April 2022: Independent: UK’s anti-slavery commissioner slams ‘lack of humanity’ in Rwanda asylum deal

Exclusive: Dame Sara Thornton expresses ‘significant concern’ about plans to ship asylum seekers to Africa

The UK’s anti-slavery commissioner has slammed the “lack of humanity” of the government’s plans to ship asylum seekers to Rwanda, warning trafficking victims sent there are likely to be deprived of support.

Responding to the controversial deal for the first time, Dame Sara Thornton told The Independent she had “significant concerns”, citing evidence the African country has detained thousands of potential trafficking victims without providing them with proper care in the past year.

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Intervention by the Courts

The Government is trying to reduce access to Courts so as to minimise the Court’s impact on on its hostile environment. These are some important examples of why people continue to need access to the Courts, and the Courts need to retain their power to examine decisions made.

Updated 12 April 2022: Free Movement: Afghan boy unlawfully removed from UK for 18 months can claim damages

The Court of Appeal has held that the unlawful removal of a vulnerable Afghan child and the 18 months of disruption to his private life entitled him to damages under the Human Rights Act 1998 and under EU law. The case is QH (Afghanistan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] EWCA Civ 421

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Status Now campaign : EDM (Early Day Motion)1098

EDM #1098 Tabled by Claudia Webbe MP for Leicester East, on 21 March 2022

Motion text: That this House recognises the important campaigning work of the Status Now network on their two year anniversary; notes that there are currently an unknown number of persons in the UK who are not citizens and who do not at present have leave to remain in this country, who lack any entitlement to support from the state and are therefore entirely without funds to feed, clothe and house themselves and their families; considers it essential that the Government takes immediate action to ensure that Leave to Remain in the United Kingdom is granted to all such persons who are within the UK but are not citizens, irrespective of their nationality or immigration status, so that they can access healthcare, food, housing and other essential human rights; notes that asylum support allowance is a mere £39.63 per week which is a miserly and inadequate amount on which to be able to survive; laments the prohibition on asylum seekers being able to work while their claim is being processed, which leads to further impoverishment; welcomes the recent progress made in Ireland through the regularisation scheme for long-term undocumented people, launched in January 2022, which will offer an amnesty for 17,000 undocumented migrants; and calls on the Government to follow suit and ensure that all undocumented, destitute and migrant people in the legal process be granted status now, or indefinite leave to remain, to guarantee that every human being, irrespective of their nationality or citizenship can access the essentials to live.

We thank Claudia Webbe MP for her continuing support for the StatusNow4All campaign

Please ask your MP to sign this EDM. If they do not sign EDMs then you can ask them to talk with others about concerns raised above.

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EU Borders and beyond

Updated 4 April 2022: The Star: EU urged to treat African refugees like Ukrainians

The UNHCR chief, Filippo Grandi, said Europe had hosted Ukrainian refugees “generously and effectively” and should consider the same for other refugees.

• It comes after 90 people died in international waters of the Mediterranean sea after setting off from Libya in an overcrowded boat.

• The UNHCR chief, Filippo Grandi, said Europe had hosted Ukrainian refugees “generously and effectively” and should consider the same for other refugees.Hundreds of African migrants die every year trying to cross the Mediterranean sea to Europe
Image: AFP

The head of the UN refugee agency has asked Europe to be generous and welcoming to other migrants, just as it has with Ukrainian refugees, following the death of dozens of African migrants at sea.

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ICIBI: Second annual inspection of ‘Adults at risk in immigration detention’ and more

Updated 1 April 2022: Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration: ICIBI Inspection Plan 2022-23:


The Plan includes completed reports that are with the Home Secretary awaiting publication and inspections that were started in 2022-23 and will report over the next few months. These two may be of particular interest:

A (re)inspection of the Home Office response to small boat arrivals
An inspection of Home Office operations to effect the removal of Foreign National Offender.

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