Monday, May 03, 2021

Letter to Priti Patel

I am posting this tomorrow. The consultation (such as it is) closes on Thursday May 6th.

Please feel free to copy my letter and post it first class to Priti Patel.

Dear Ms Patel

(Copy to Ms Sarah Dines MP)

Consultation on new asylum plans

I have looked at your online questionnaire and it is cunningly designed to get just the answers you want, while making it impossible to reject the questionable arguments it is based on.

I am therefore writing this letter as my response to your consultation.

I reject your new plans because:

1.    They discriminate against people who have arrived via irregular routes like small boats or in the back of lorries – and your plan is potentially in violation of the Refugee Convention.

2.    They ‘fast track’ life and death decisions about vital refugee protection decisions so that you can more quickly expel people seeking sanctuary. It is not reasonable to expect people fleeing life-threatening situations to have all their documents supporting their claim ready at the first interaction with the UK Home Office. They need time to get their evidence ready, or for their legal representatives to do so.

3.    They expand inhumane immigration detention. I also reject your repulsive suggestion of having Australian-style offshore detention for people seeking refugee protection. And I also think there should be an end to indefinite detention, the introduction of a strict 28-day time limit with judicial oversight and appropriate safeguards, and the introduction of community-based alternatives to detention.

4.    They make a false distinction between ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ arrivals to the UK. There are many reasons why those fleeing persecution are forced to make spontaneous and dangerous journeys to the UK to seek asylum. The UK must fulfil its commitments as signatories to the Refugee Convention and not punish those seeking sanctuary.

5.    They want to introduce reception centres to house those arriving in the UK spontaneously. These plans amount to de-facto detention and a return to a detained fast-track. Those seeking asylum, regardless of their route to the UK, should be offered accommodation and support in the community, have their asylum claims assessed fully and fairly with adequate legal advice available, and should never be punished for having arrived spontaneously.

Lastly, I think there should be a humanitarian visa to be introduced to provide genuine safer routes to claim asylum in the UK.

The UK has in the past welcomed refugees from war and terror and we should continue to do so. It is the humane and compassionate thing to do, and more than that, Britain has signed up to international agreements about refugees and asylum seekers and we should honour our commitments, not try to weasel our way out of them in a mean-spirited and heartless way.

Yours sincerely

Sue Hepworth 



Anonymous said...

Thank goodness for someone with the strength of character as Priti Patel. There are many who see this country as a soft touch and and want to come here to take advantage.

Anon said...

Refugees who have fled the homelands they love, traversed danger, risked their lives, lost everything, and overcome almost unassailable odds to arrive on an inhospitable rain-soaked rock to be met by pitiless cretins such as you have more strength of character than you can even begin to contemplate. The only people taking advantage are those such as yourself, who will never experience such hardship, and abuse the comfort of their own existence to do nothing more than repeat the nonsensical right wing myth that the leeches in society are the poorest and most vulnerable, rather than the non-dom, tax-dodging 1%.

This is the wrong blog for you, and no one reading it wants to also read your nonsense. Do us all a favour and make the above your last comment.