End the Hostile Environment
Tonight, as the crisis on our streets continues to worsen, many people experiencing homelessness will be too afraid of accessing official services. They will be afraid they will be turned away - or worse, arrested, locked up in a detention centre, and deported - because of uncertainty around their immigration status.Rather than end the homelessness crisis by reversing the austerity cuts to provision, the government is doubling down on the callous Hostile Environment policies which are only making things worse. Despite the government’s practice of sending out Home Office immigration officers with rough sleeper outreach teams being declared illegal in 2017, they continue to try to get charities and local councils to pass on personal data of rough sleepers to the Home Office in order to deport them.
The Hostile Environment is in effect every day, threatening migrant rough sleepers with deportation for the ‘crime’ of experiencing homelessness. Some will be refused support due to having so-called ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ status. Others will avoid services for fear of deportation. The longer someone is left on the streets without support, the more likely they are to die.
Labour councils must not cooperate with the government’s cruel Hostile Environment. This means every council should:
Refuse to embed Home Office immigration officers in council services
Refuse to pass on rough sleeper’s data to the Home Office without their express consent
Open Severe Weather Emergency Protocol shelters to everyone, regardless of immigration status.