Joint open letter in response to New Plan for Immigration consultation

On 23rd March 2021, the UK Government announced sweeping changes to how they will treat people seeking safety in the UK. Instead of fixing a system that’s been failing people for years, these changes take a wrecking ball to the very principle of asylum.

The UK Government has since invited public feedback on these plans. This would usually be a chance to challenge their plans, raise important details and hold the Government to account. But, as with the inquiry stage for the recent Sewell Report on institutional racism, this consultation is a sham.

  • The ‘New Plan for Immigration’ is a half-baked political manifesto. It lays out vague, unworkable, cruel and potentially unlawful plans justified by misleading or simply incorrect evidence, wrapped up in racist and divisive language.
  • The consultation is poorly designed, confusing and inaccessible. The documents are only available in English and Welsh. The questions are clearly designed to lead people into endorsing the Government’s plan.
  • The Government left people fewer than six working weeks to give their thoughts on the largest changes to the asylum system in two decades.
    Normally consultations like this last at least 12 weeks. These six weeks also include Easter holidays, a May bank holiday, Ramadan and an election period during which those involved in local, mayoral and devolved nation elections are restricted in what they can say publicly.
  • Most incredibly, this consultation does not prioritise the views and experiences of refugees and people seeking asylum. Not one question in the official consultation document asks people about their personal experiences of fleeing persecution or seeking safety in the UK. And the inaccessible process will make it more difficult for many of the most important voices of all to be heard.

This is not a process designed by a Government that genuinely wants to listen or has any interest in being challenged or changing its approach. We can only conclude this is a thinly veiled public relations exercise with a pre-determined outcome that we’ve been reading about on the front pages of newspapers for months. 

It seems the Government has already forgotten the shameful legacy of Windrush. Just weeks ago, the Home Office signed a legal agreement requiring the department to properly consider the impacts of its policies on the groups of people they affect. It is our view that the Home Office has already failed to meet this commitment.

This Government already punishes refugees at every turn. Instead of fixing this injustice, they are doubling down on it. They are planning to leave traumatised people stuck in refugee camps on UK soil or in dangerous situations abroad. Their proposals are cruel, unjust and deadly.

We believe in a caring and connected society, where everyone is included, and we can all thrive. These plans are a direct threat to that society. We will oppose them at every possible stage, and keep building the future we believe in.

Signed:

#Together100
Abigail Housing
African Rainbow Family
All Out
Anti-Slavery International
ASIRT (Birmingham)
ASSIST Sheffield
Asylum Link Merseyside
Asylum Matters
Asylum Support Appeals Project
Asylum Welcome (Oxford)
Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees (AVID)
Bail For Immigration Detainees
Baobab Women’s Project CIC
BeHarrogate District of Sanctuary
Belfast Islamic Centre
Belfast Multi-Cultural Association
Ben & Jerry’s Europe
Blandford Cares (Dorset)
Boaz Trust
Bradford City of Sanctuary
Bradford Rape Crisis & Sexual Abuse Survivors Service
Bristol Refugee Rights
Cambridge Convoy Refugee Action Group
Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign
Caritas Shrewsbury
CAST-COMMUNITIES AND SANCTUARY SEEKERS TOGETHER (Southend)
Central Asylum Yorkshire
Cheshire, Halton & Warrington Race & Equality Centre
Citizens Advice Rotherham
City of Sanctuary Sheffield
City of Sanctuary UK
Co-Conveners Brighton & Hove Stand Up To Racism
Committee on the Administration of Justice, Belfast
Community Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers
Croeso Menai Community Sponsorship Group
Cornwall Refugee Resource Network
Coventry Refugee & Migrant Centre
Darlington Assistance for Refugees
Derby City of Sanctuary Network
Derby Refugee Forum
Derbyshire Refugee Solidarity
Detention Action
Detention Forum
Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support
Displaced People In Action
Doctors of the World
Doncaster Conversation Club
Durham Student Action for Refugees
ECPAT
End Deportations Belfast
English+, Norwich
Enthum Foundation (East Sussex)
Entraide (Mutual Aid)
Ethnic Minority Sports Organisation Northern Ireland
Europe Must Act
Falmouth & Penryn Welcome Refugees
Family Refugee Support Project (GM)
Faversham and Villages Refugee Solidarity Group
Finchley Reform Synagogue
Freedom From Torture
Friends of the Drop-in for asylum seekers and refugees (FODI), Sunderland
Galeforce Productions Universal CIC
GARAS (Gloucester)
Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group
Govan Community Project
Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit
Growing Together Levenshulme
Hastings Community of Sanctuary
HASVO Harrow
Health Energy Advice Team (Liverpool)
Helen Bamber Foundation/Asylum Aid
Heart4Refugees, Wirral
Herts for Refugees
Home4U Cardiff
Hope and Aid Direct (Essex)
Hope and Dignity Hearth (Sheffield)
Horn of Africa People’s Aid Northern Ireland (HAPANI)
Host Nottingham
House of Guramayle
House Of Rainbow CIC (London)
Hull Help for Refugees
Humans for Rights Network
Institute of Race Relations
Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality
JCORE (Jewish Council for Racial Equality)
Jesuit Refugee Service UK
Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI)
Justice First – Stockton
Kent Refugee Action Network
Khai Tzedek CIC (Stoke)
LASS Lesbian Asylum Support Sheffield
Learn for Life Enterprise
Leeds Asylum Seekers Support Network
Leicester City of Sanctuary
Lesbian Immigration Support Group
Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network
LGBT+ Consortium
Liberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary
Light Up Black and African Heritage Calderdale
Liverpool City of Sanctuary
Manchester Migrant Solidarity
Manchester Refugee Support Network
Manuel Bravo Project
Mary Seacole House
Mary Thompson Fund
Maryhill Integration Network, Glasgow
Maternity Action
Medical Justice
Mermaids
Merseyside Law Centre
Merseyside Refugee Support Network
Micro Rainbow
Mid Wales Refugee Action
Migrant Action
Migrant Advisory Service (Kingston)
Migrant Advocacy Service
Migrant Voice
Migrants at Work (Oxford)
NACCOM
New Beginnings Project, Blackburn YMCA
New Routes Integration (Norwich)
North of England Refugee Service
North West Migrants Forum
Northern Ireland Women’s Budget Group
Norwich City of Sanctuary
Notre Dame Refugee Centre
Nottingham & Notts Refugee Forum
Nottingham Arimathea Trust
One and All Aid
Ozanne Foundation
PAFRAS
Penrith and Eden Refugee Network
Plymouth Hope
Positive Action in Housing
Pro Refugee Alliance
Project 17 (London)
Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network
Rainbow Home
RAS Voice
Reading Refugee Support Group
Reclaim the Agenda
Refugee Action
Refugee Action in Somerset East
Refugee Action Kingston
Refugee Compassion (Ayelsbury)
Refugee Rights Europe
Refugee Roots, Nottingham
Refugee Support Group, South Somerset
Refugee Women Connect (Liverpool)
Refugees Welcome Committee (Ken and Chel)
Rene Cassin
ReportOUT
Restore, a project of Birmingham Churches Together
Right to Remain
Ripon City of Sanctuary
Rural Refugee Network
Safe in Scotland
Safe Passage
Safety4Sisters North West
Sahir House
Samphire
SHARE (Supporting and Helping Asylum seekers and Refugees) Knowsley
South Yorkshire Refugee Law & Justice
Sanctuary on Sea (Brighton and Hove City of Sanctuary)
Scottish Refugee Council
ShipShape Health and wellbeing
Shropshire Supports Refugees
Solace Leeds
South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group
South Yorkshire Refugee Law & Justice
Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers
St Augustine’s Centre, Halifax
Stafford Welcomes Refugees
Stonewall Equality
Student Action for Refugees
Sussex Interpreting Services
Tees Valley of Sanctuary
The Bridge + (Norfolk)
The Oasis Centre, Gorton
The Refugee Buddy Project Hastings, Rother & Wealden
The Voice of Domestic Workers
The Welcoming Association, Edinburgh, Scotland
The Well Multi-Cultural Resource Centre Glasgow
Theatre Company of Sanctuary (Southampton)
Thousand 4 £1,000
Time to be Out (York)
TransgenderNI
Trinity Safe Space, Halton
Trinity Safe Spaces, Runcorn and Widnes
UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG)
UK Welcomes Refugees
Upbeat Communities
Vauxhall Community Law Centre
Voices in Exile
Voices in Exile (Brighton and Sussex)
Waging Peace
Wakefield District City of Sanctuary
Wandsworth Welcomes Refugees
Welsh Refugee Council
West End Refugee Service
Westminster Justice and Peace Commission
Wiltshire For Refugees
Wirral Change
Women for Refugee Women
Women With Hope
Women’s Resource and Development Agency (Northern Ireland)
Yarl’s Wood Befrienders
Young Roots