We are Voice for Voiceless Immigration Detainees Yorkshire, a group of campaigners with These Walls Must Fall. In our group, many of us have had to report to the Home Office buildings in Sheffield and Leeds for many years as part of our ‘bail conditions’. In-person reporting has started again since being stopped under the first lockdown, and last week we wrote to the Home Secretary to raise our concerns and ask that it is stopped for good.
Last Friday we met with Sheffield MP Olivia Blake about this, who committed to champion our campaign. She has now submitted an Early Day Motion to parliament on this issue. We ask that you stand with us, and write to your MP about this issue using the form below, to ask them to support the EDM and write to Priti Patel.VVIDY, TWMF Yorkshire
If you would like to contact VVIDY about this letter for press or other purposes, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Did you know?
Since January 2018, all migrants lawfully in the UK without leave to remain are technically on immigration bail, including asylum seekers. This replaces the previous status of “temporary admission”. In practice this means that all people without leave to remain are subject to bail conditions - often including reporting in person at Home Office buildings, police stations, or other government premises.https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/detention/
Rt. Hon. Priti Patel
Secretary Of State for the Home Office
12th November 2020
Dear Home Secretary,
We are a campaign group with These Walls Must Fall based in Sheffield. Everyone in our group previously reported to the Home Office immigration reporting centres in Sheffield and Leeds. We write to you as people with direct experience of reporting, with the support of the below charities and organisations that assist migrants subject to immigration bail reporting conditions. As such, we write to request that you as Home Secretary, immediately suspend all immigration bail reporting conditions in the manner that was done through a Home Office notice on the 24th of March 2020 when The United Kingdom went into lockdown for the first time.
The United Kingdom is into its second lockdown, a period that will last for four weeks beginning midnight 4th of November 2020 to 2nd of December 2020.
It is of concern to us that the welfare of our communities and the public at large will be placed at risk during the period of public emergency should they continue reporting in person.
In March this year your office issued temporary guidance to suspend immigration bail reporting conditions. For some people, including some within our number, reporting in person has re-started.
The temporary guidance employed by The Immigration Reporting Centres involved measures such as text messaging and telephone calling our service users as an alternative to physically reporting at The Immigration Reporting Centres.
The effectiveness of these measures were commendable to the extent that it became quite unnecessary to resume physical reporting as temporary measures achieved the objectives of The Immigration Reporting Centres. Rates of people absconding are incredibly low, and we don’t believe physical reporting is necessary.
In addition, at the moment, physical reporting entails unnecessary travel that places us, our community, as well as the public at risk due to Covid-19. Members of our group who are now having to report are extremely stressed by the reporting itself, and the travel on public transport during a pandemic, and the increased Covid risk as a result.
More generally, we believe reporting is bad for public health. Many of the people in our community who report, many of whom seek asylum in this country, have mental and physical health disorders, suffer from post-traumatic stress disorders, anxiety issues and communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, and live in poverty with no recourse to public funds, situations that place them at very high risk during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the longer term, we also question the essence and efficacy of physical reporting itself to all Immigration Reporting Centres. In the light of the effectiveness of the temporary measures during the first national lockdown, during which the traditional method of immigration bail reporting was rendered completely unnecessary. The new method of text messaging and telephone voice calling achieved the objectives of The Immigration Reporting Centres and we believe it should become the new norm. Reporting in person is extremely stressful for individuals at any time due to harassment from staff arising out of airport type security checks and the risk of detention, and during a pandemic carries additional risk, particularly in travel there and back.
Voice for Voiceless Immigration Detainees Yorkshire (These Walls Must Fall)
African Rainbow Family
Bail for Immigration Detainees
Bristol Defend the Asylum Seekers Campaign
Bristol Refugee Rights
Bristol Signing Support
City of Sanctuary Sheffield
Coventry Asylum and Refugee Action Group
Mount Pleasant Park FC
Refugee Info Bus
Refugee Media Group
Right to Remain
Sisters United Halifax
SOAS Detainee Support
South Yorkshire Refugee Law and Justice
Student Action for Refugees Sheffield
UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group
Voices Ambassadors Sheffield
Wakefield and District City of Sanctuary