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Civil society groups clash with Patel over immigration plans

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Serious concerns on the impact the changes will have on very vulnerable people

Charities have condemned the UK government over immigration plans.

It came after home secretary Priti Patel attacked charities’ “language” in opposing new immigration plans.

These include deporting asylum seekers who arrive in Britain via unauthorised routes and denying them rights if they cannot be deported.

After criticism of the plans by the British Red Cross, Patel stated: "I think many of those organisations should think carefully about our proposals and also the type of language they themselves use, because we want to save lives and we want to work with partnership organisations in developing safe and legal routes.

"That is not just the right thing to do that is a responsible thing to do as a country that welcomes refugees fleeing persecution."

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) said Patel had “a pattern of failing to engage with civil society” on immigration.

Minnie Rahman, campaign director at JCWI, said: “Patel's latest attack on migrants rights charities is alarming.

“A pattern of failing to engage with civil society, ignoring expert advice, and branding migrants who have every right to be here ‘illegal’ was the exact set of conditions that led to the Windrush scandal.

“It is high time the home secretary learned lessons from the scandal, and started listening to constructive critique, particularly from migrants, refugees, and those of us who work with them everyday.

“Perhaps then we would see more workable, compassionate and evidence-based policymaking as a result.”

Zoe Abrams, executive director of strategy, communications and advocacy at the British Red Cross, said: “As part of the world’s largest humanitarian network, the British Red Cross must bear witness to the experiences and challenges that people in crisis face in the UK and overseas.

"Alongside supporting people through our front-line services, we advocate for systemic change in order to have the biggest possible positive impact for those we exist to serve.

“We take an evidence-based, insight-led approach based on our work with people with lived-experience to put forward positive solutions.

“We seek to be a constructive partner to government and others on a range of issues, from communities struggling to adapt to the daily impacts of climate change, vulnerable people living through the harsh realities of the pandemic, or those who have been displaced from their homes and are seeking refuge in countries including our own.

“We are the UK’s biggest independent provider of services to refugees and in recent weeks, we have been sharing our views on the issue of asylum reform.

“We support the need for reform but do have serious concerns about the impact of some changes proposed and so must both raise this and share our alternative solutions.”



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