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Coronavirus Crisis Destitute Asylum Seekers Hostile Environment Wakefield District City of Sanctuary

Return to the Hostile Environment?

Earlier this year, we were told the home office no longer operated a hostile environment policy, but had renamed what they do as a “compliant environment”, in an attempt to counter criticism and claims of a cruel and inhumane policy.

It’s come to our attention, that one of our long term “Destitute Asylum Seekers” is being REQUIRED to report to the Waterside Home Office centre in Kirkstall, Leeds on a WEEKLY basis, during lockdown. He has been in this country for over 18 years now, came here to escape political unrest in Zimbabwe, but has repeatedly been refused permission to stay.

We say this is cruel and inhumane treatment. We have written to the local Wakefield MP, whose office tells us this is not happening. But it is. Every week. The stress and psychological damage this causes is just awful.

How essential is it to force people to make these journeys when the process was cancelled during the previous lock-down?

In order to make this journey, six public transport buses need to be taken from Wakefield to Kirkstall Road in Leeds. Usually, this cost has to be borne by a charity.

We are aware of one other person known to our charity who is being forced to do this. (if they don’t report, they are recorded as having “Absconded” and can be arrested).