Dave Smith
Roundup of Refugee News (wb 24.5.21)

Weekly News Review (w.b. 24/5/21)


Asylum / refugees / immigration (UK)


Independent: Dozens of vulnerable asylum seekers wrongly placed in Napier Barracks despite watchdog warnings

Dozens of asylum seekers have been wrongly placed in Napier Barracks after the Home Office failed to recognise their vulnerabilities, prompting concerns that ministers have ignored warnings from watchdogs. 

The Independent has learned that around one in five individuals placed in the former military camp since it reopened on 9 April have been transferred out after the department admitted they had vulnerabilities which, according to its own criteria, made them unsuitable to be in barracks accommodation.


Guardian: UK asylum seekers at ‘unprecedented’ risk of suicide amid deportation threat

The Home Office’s rush to deport asylum seekers who had crossed the Channel in small boats last year led to “unprecedented levels” of those at risk of suicide, a watchdog has found.

During the period between the end of July to December 2020, when the Home Office was operating a programme of “compressed” charter flights, one-third of the detainees at Brook House immigration removal centre near Gatwick were placed on constant suicide watch, the Independent Monitoring Board [IMB] found.


Independent: Home Office’s rush to deport asylum seekers before Brexit was ‘inhumane’, watchdog finds

The Home Office’s rush to deport asylum seekers last year ahead of Brexit amounted to “inhumane treatment,” a watchdog has found. 

In its annual report for 2020, the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) for the Brook House Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) raised concerns around the impact of the government ramping up efforts to remove people arriving on small boats from the UK in the later months of 2020.


Stoke On Trent Live: Home Office to create 500 jobs in Stoke-on-Trent with immigration case centre

Home Secretary Priti Patel has revealed plans to create more than 500 government jobs in Stoke-on-Trent over the next five years. The Home Office is set to open an Immigration Caseworking Innovation Centre in the city, which will see the department dramatically increase its local footprint.

Initially there will be 50 caseworker roles, with a further 200 jobs within an asylum co-ordination hub. 

But Ms Patel says the Innovation Centre will expand to around 560 jobs by around 2025. The Home Office currently employust 10 people in Stoke-on-Trent, out of a total workforce of 35,000.


Ipswich Star: Ipswich MP: 'We need to be tougher on illegal immigration'

There is clearly a large disconnect between what the public in general think about the issue of illegal immigration and what policies the Labour Party believes we should be pushing for.

 Leaving the nuances involved in the debate about levels of immigration aside, what is incredibly clear to me from conversations I have had with constituents of all ages and backgrounds is that there are very few people who believe there should be no process for coming into this country.


Sky News: UK borders to be 'fully digital' in an effort to measure immigration levels, home secretary to announce

The UK's border will become "fully digital" so the government is able to measure immigration levels, the home secretary will announce on Monday.

 Priti Patel is set to announce what the government is calling "sweeping changes" to the UK's immigration policy to "streamline" the way in which people come into the country.


Daily Mail: Moment police officer jailed for failing to help disabled asylum seeker who was beaten to death by vigilantes sheds a tear for the victim ‘for the first time’

A police officer who was jailed for 10 months after he failed to help an asylum seeker before he was killed by a mob of angry neighbours sheds a tear for the victim for the first time in a Channel 5 documentary. 

Kevin Duffy was a beat manager in Brislington, Bristol, when Iranian refugee Bijan Ebrahimi, 44, was beaten to death and set alight by two neighbours on Sunday 14 July 2013, after a period of non-stop abuse.


Asylum / refugees / immigration (international)


BBC: Denmark asylum: The Syrian refugees no longer welcome to stay

When Denmark became the first European country last month to revoke residence status for more than 200 Syrian refugees, it faced condemnation from EU lawmakers, the UN refugee agency and human rights groups.

Authorities in Copenhagen argue that parts of Syria are now safe enough for refugees to return.

For a country with a liberal reputation, Denmark has become known for repeatedly tightening its immigration policies in recent years.


Independent: Spain returns over 6,600 migrants to Morocco in border spat

Over 6,600 of the more than 8,000 migrants who swam or jumped over border fences into one of Spain's North African enclaves this week have been sent back to Morocco authorities said Friday.

 No fresh arrivals were recorded for the second day in a row in Ceuta the Spanish city of 85,000 at the center of a diplomatic row between Spain and Morocco, after Moroccan authorities stepped up vigilance on their side of the border.