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Homeless migrants targetted

 
April 20th 2017
 

Homeless charities are under fire in a new report that claims they are “collaborating” with the Home Office in the detention and deportation of rough sleepers from outside the UK.

The investigation by Corporate Watch claims that though council and charity outreach workers set out to help people, they end up acting as “informers” for the Home Office’s Immigration Compliance and Enforcement teams.

Since May last year, those from the EU can be deported if they are found sleeping rough. But campaigners claim that those who could have? the right to stay are being unfairly targeted because they are easy prey.

Through Freedom of Information requests, Corporate Watch found that charities including St Mungo’s, Thames Reach and Change, Grow and Live (CGL) all make regular joint “visits” with Home Office enforcement officers to central London boroughs.

At least 141 patrols were organised last year, with 133 rough sleepers detained, and 127 people were deported after being found sleeping rough in Westminster.

Charities insist their role is to persuade non-UK rough sleepers to leave “voluntarily”. But Corporate Watch claims that outreach teams also routinely pass on locations of non-UK rough sleepers to officials.

Human rights lobby group Liberty has called the practice “a new low”.

Rough sleepers from European countries, especially Romania, Poland and other Eastern European countries, make up nearly half of rough sleepers in London.

Homelessness charity St Mungo’s, denies that it “collaborates” with ?the Home Office, saying it does not share information “except when an individual has given their consent, or in situations where people are at risk”.

A spokesman from Thames Reach said that between April 2016 and January 2017, outreach teams from the organisation “supported 92 people to return home voluntarily” covering the cost of their travel and put them “back in touch with family and friends and connected with accommodation providers and support agencies”.

Mark Moody, executive director of health and social care at Change, Grow, Live, confirmed that the charity worked with local authorities and statutory agencies to help non-UK rough sleepers “find solutions to their sometimes complex needs”.

A spokesman from the Home Office said it was “unacceptable” for anyone to come to the UK with the intention of sleeping rough or begging to support themselves. Are you a migrant? Know your rights: check our listings for Eastern Europeans or BME/Refugees or contact The Migrant Rights Network: www.migrantsrights.org.uk?

 
 
 

April/May 2017

 

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Homeless migrants targetted

 

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