Immigration and asylum | The Guardian
‘Britain has become a sordid, cruel and lawless country’ | Brief letters
Sun, 18 Mar 2018 18:01:48 GMT
Deportation flights | Belfast weather | 2001’s HAL computer | Elephant mnemonic | A village Waitrose

Can I add my support to the letter on deportations (17 March). They are worse than shocking; they break international UN law which the UK is signatory to, and the European convention. The cuts to legal aid and the private security companies exist side by side with the deportations. Under the present and previous governments Britain has become a sordid, cruel, lawless country which has demolished the most precious and necessary elements of a democracy.
Vanessa Redgrave

• Keith Bomber (Letters, 16 March) remarks on the lack of weather for Belfast in the paper. But there’s no need. As every citizen of the city knows: “If you can’t see the Cavehill, it’s raining. If you can see the Cavehill, it’s about to rain.”
Stan Surgin

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Where do the Brexit negotiations stand?
Mon, 19 Mar 2018 14:00:14 GMT

Michel Barnier and David Davis have agreed most of a withdrawal agreement and with it a transition period to last until December 2020. In Davis’s words, this is ‘near enough to the two years we asked for’. To get the deal, Davis had to make concessions on citizen’s rights and accept the backstop position of Northern Ireland remaining in the customs union if no better arrangement can be found. Here’s how we got here.

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Focus on minorities speaking English misses wider points | Kimberly McIntosh
Sun, 18 Mar 2018 06:05:01 GMT
Racism, sexism, the gender pay gap and voter registration are far more pressing issues

On BBC radio, I was asked if ethnic minorities were doing enough to get on and fit in. Not the first time I’ve been asked this question. But is anyone asking the caller if he’s faithful to his end of the bargain? In the Runnymede Trust’s new integration briefing we found that many white British residents are living in isolation from other ethnic groups. A contract works only if both parties sign it.

When the government launched its integration green paper, communities secretary Sajid Javid made it clear which side he felt had work to do. He promised to expand English language classes, claiming that 770,000 people can speak little or no English, most of them women from Pakistani or Bangladeshi communities. The actual number is closer to 138,000, many of them pensioners. Younger Britons of Bangladeshi and Pakistani heritage almost all speak English. So if he’s serious about bringing “divided communities together”, then why is he so focused on 0.3% of the population? And if the government is serious about increasing access to Englishlanguage lessons, why did it slash funding by £132m between 2010 and 2015? It is handing over only £50m to implement its entire integration strategy.

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Ilford M&S to help build pop-up hostel for local rough sleepers
Sat, 17 Mar 2018 07:00:27 GMT

Marks & Spencer shop had been criticised for using high-pitched alarm to drive homeless away

A Marks & Spencer store that was criticised for driving homeless people away with a high-pitched alarm has helped to launch a new initiative to tackle rough sleeping.

Last July the Guardian revealed that the Ilford, Essex, branch of M&S was using an alarm at intervals throughout the night to deter a group of people who had been regularly bedding down behind the store.

The fact that in one of the world’s richest countries the average age a rough-sleeping man will die is 47 is just not ​OK

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Secret deportation flights must stop | Letters
Fri, 16 Mar 2018 15:06:06 GMT
David Ramsbotham, Caroline Lucas, Naomi Klein and Philip Pullman are among those calling for charges against the Stansted 15 activists to be dropped and for the Home Office to cease chartering flights for deportation

Last March, 15 people chained themselves around a deportation charter flight for 10 hours to prevent it taking off. The Stansted 15 were subsequently charged with a terrorism-related offence and their trial starts on Monday. If found guilty, they could serve many years in prison. Secret deportation flights take thousands of people from our communities every year. Parents, friends and neighbours are targeted on the basis of their perceived nationality and snatched to fill a flight that the Home Office has chartered. Many critics have argued that like Trump’s “Muslim ban”, these deportations are unjust and racist. Violence and abuse from security contractors have been documented on these flights. Most people would be horrified if they were aware of the nature of this process.

The Stansted action was the first time a deportation flight has been grounded in the UK by people protesting against the immigration system. People who would have been forced on to the flight were able to stay in the UK because of the action, as it gave them time to have their applications heard. People across the UK are standing together to stop the Home Office breaking up families and tearing communities apart. We call for all charges against the Stansted 15 to be dropped and for the Home Office to immediately cease chartering flights for deportation.
David Ramsbotham Formerly HM chief inspector of prisons
Caroline Lucas Green party leader
David Lammy MP for Tottenham, Labour party
Philip Pullman Novelist
Naomi Klein Writer and activist
Patrisse Khan-Cullors Co-founder, Black Lives Matter
Gloria Steinem Writer
Aki Kaurismäki Film director and screenwriter
Emma Thompson Actor and screenwriter
Maxine Peake Actor
Ken Loach Film director
Sue Johnston Actor
Jimmy McGovern Screenwriter
John Akomfrah Artist
David Edgar Playwright
Lowkey Musician
Akala Rapper and poet
Awate Rapper
Dame Marina Warner Novelist
Chris Williamson MP for Derby North, Labour party
Lloyd Russell-Moyle Labour and Cooperative MP for Kemptown and Peacehaven
Emma Dent Coad MP for Kensington
Sian Berry Green party
Caroline Russell Green party
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC
Edward Mortimer Distinguished fellow, All Souls College, Oxford
Revd Robert Wiggs Priest, Chelmsford
Pól Ó Ceallaigh President, Oxford and District Trades Union Council
Penny Wangari-Jones Racial Justice Network
Dr Omar Khan Director, the Runnymede Trust
Lisa Matthews Right to Remain
Asad Rehman Director, War on Want
Nick Dearden Director, Global Justice Now
Farzana Khan Platform London
Eve Ensler Writer
Susan George Writer
George Monbiot Journalist
Owen Jones Journalist
Reni Eddo-Lodge Writer
Ahdaf Soueif Writer
Inua Ellams Poet and playwright
Anders Lustgarten Playwright
Josie Long Comedian
Matthew Herbert Musician
Ezra Furman Musician
Caroline Criado-Perez Journalist
Ellie Mae O’Hagan Journalist
Aaron Bastani Journalist
Ash Sarkar Journalist

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MPs back refugee family reunification bill
Fri, 16 Mar 2018 14:34:06 GMT

Government is likely to block proposals, saying they could put people in danger

MPs have backed a bill that would allow child refugees to sponsor close relatives to join them in the UK, though the government has said it will oppose the legislation at a later stage.

The Commons voted in favour of the Scottish National party MP Angus MacNeil’s refugee family reunification bill at its second reading and it will now move to committee stage. The immigration minister, Caroline Nokes, has said the government does not support the measures in the bill and is likely to block it.

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Durham University academics given two weeks to leave UK
Fri, 16 Mar 2018 12:41:15 GMT

Couple who have lived in UK for 11 years plan legal challenge to ‘scandalous’ Home Office ruling

Two Durham University academics who have lived in the UK for 11 years have been given two weeks to leave the country after undertaking humanitarian work in Mexico.

Dr Ernesto Schwartz-Marín and Dr Arely Cruz-Santiago, who have an 11-year-old daughter, travelled to Mexico in 2014 and 2015 to work with victims of gang violence and build a DNA database to help locate missing people.

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End the inhumanity of immigration detention | Letters
Thu, 15 Mar 2018 16:41:25 GMT
Campaigners respond to a highly critical report on the detention of torture victims at Harmondsworth immigration removal centre

The damning inspection report on Harmondsworth immigration removal centre (Detention of torture victims attacked by prison inspectors, 13 March) is a reminder of the inhumanity of immigration detention. The report mentions a self-inflicted death of a detainee. His name was Marcin Gwozdzinski, a Polish man who died two days before his 28th birthday. Fellow detainees told the Guardian that Marcin had been begging for help but staff did nothing.

Last year saw the highest number of deaths of immigration detainees on record, with 11 deaths since January 2017. The UK is the only country in Europe without a time limit on detention, despite national and international monitoring bodies, charities, and a parliamentary inquiry recommending a 28-day limit.

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My £54,000 cancer bill: 'It's like I've been left to die' – video
Thu, 15 Mar 2018 12:58:01 GMT

Albert Thompson has lived in the UK for 44 years, he has worked and paid his taxes. When he was diagnosed with prostate cancer he was told he would have to pay thousands for his hospital care because he didn't have the right documents. After Jeremy Corbyn raised his case in parliament, he tells us how the ordeal has affected him 

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The Guardian view on denying cancer care: unjust and uncaring | Editorial
Wed, 14 Mar 2018 18:10:12 GMT

There is outrage over the refusal of radiotherapy to a patient who has lived here more than four decades. His case points to wider problems

Refusing Albert Thompson NHS treatment for prostate cancer unless he hands over £54,000 he does not have offends both justice and basic humanity. Since last autumn, staff have been ordered to check proof of residency before supplying “non-urgent” healthcare, and charge upfront if it is not forthcoming. This came despite warnings from groups such as Docs Not Cops that health workers struggle to understand who is eligible, leading to discrimination, and that the rules deter ill people from seeking life-saving treatment and make it more likely that infectious diseases could spread.

Worrying as the policy is, it should not have affected Mr Thompson, whose case was revealed by the Guardian last week and raised at prime minister’s questions on Wednesday. Cancer specialists are among those who find it extremely odd that a patient can be booked for radiotherapy yet told on arrival that the treatment is not urgent. Moreover, the 63-year-old moved to the UK as a teenager, has lived here for 44 years and has paid taxes for almost all of those. But he is one of a significant number of long-term UK residents from the Commonwealth to suffer in the “hostile environment” for migrants introduced by Theresa May as home secretary. Many arrived as children, had settled into a peaceful retirement after decades of living and working here, and have been shocked to be told they are not, as they believed, British. Some have found themselves on the brink of deportation.

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Sharp rise in number of EU nationals applying for UK citizenship
Wed, 14 Mar 2018 12:20:15 GMT

The biggest increase has been from Spanish, French and German nationals

The number of German, Italian and French nationals applying for British citizenship has more than trebled in three years as the impact of the Brexit referendum is felt, government data has revealed.

Almost 30,000 EU nationals applied to become British citizens between June 2016 and June 2017, double the previous year.

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Austerity really has hit poor people hardest – the figures prove it | Jonathan Portes
Wed, 14 Mar 2018 09:00:03 GMT
Tax and welfare changes introduced by George Osborne in 2010 will continue to push children into poverty unless we rethink

On Tuesday, the chancellor announced that the government’s debt would start to fall relative to GDP – a target originally set by George Osborne in 2010. Back then, the then chancellor said “We’re all in this together”, while in 2012 his chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, told delegates at the Liberal Democrat conference: “We simply will not allow the books to be balanced in a way that hits the poorest hardest.” On Wednesday, the Equality and Human Rights Commission publishes our research, which contains the most detailed and thorough assessment yet of those claims.

Our analysis shows that, contrary to Alexander’s pledge, changes to taxes and welfare payments since 2010 have indeed hit the poorest hardest, whether you look at the record of the 2010-15 coalition government or that of the Conservative government elected in May 2015. Some changes, such as increases in the personal allowance and the minimum wage, have boosted incomes; but others, especially cuts to benefits and tax credits, more than offset this.

The precise mix of reforms was a political choice. It was not inevitable that the most vulnerable would bear the brunt

The main poverty indicator used in the Joseph Rowntree Foundation's study is the number of households that have income levels of less than 60% of median income. Using the same measure, the UK was ranked 22nd out of 35 in an international league table of child poverty rates in rich nations put together by Unicef in 2012.

Related: Philip Hammond can’t ignore the anger caused by austerity | Matthew d’Ancona

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Sajid Javid: 770,000 people in England unable to speak English well
Wed, 14 Mar 2018 00:01:37 GMT

Communities secretary promises to expand teaching as he speaks of experiencing racist abuse

Sajid Javid has revealed that 770,000 people living in England speak no English or hardly any, in a personal interview in which he described his own experience as a “six-year-old interpreter” for his Pakistani mother.

The communities secretary promised to expand the teaching of English for immigrants as he warned that up to 70% of those unable to speak the language were women, and most of them were from Pakistani or Bangladeshi communities.

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Discrimination against migrants in the NHS will make staffing problems worse | Amitava Banerjee
Tue, 13 Mar 2018 10:33:18 GMT

The health service needs the best staff, regardless of where they were born or where they trained

“Can I see a doctor qualified in Britain?” inquired the woman.

“I qualified from Oxford,” I assured her.

Related: EU workers in the NHS: 'I've faced racial abuse and will head home'

Related: How much progress is the NHS making on workforce diversity? | Roger Kline

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Home Office keeping torture victims in detention, inspectors report
Tue, 13 Mar 2018 00:01:24 GMT

Chief prisons inspector says men are being held in immigration removal centre despite accepted evidence of torture

The Home Office is keeping torture victims in detention at Europe’s largest immigration removal centre despite accepting clear evidence of their vulnerability, prison inspectors say.

An official inspection report into Harmondsworth immigration removal centre, near Heathrow, published on Tuesday says that despite accepting evidence of torture in nine out of 10 sample cases, the Home Office continued to detain all but one of the people involved.

Related: Home Office broke its own rules on avoiding family separations

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'Shameful': widespread outrage over man denied NHS cancer care
Mon, 12 Mar 2018 19:42:01 GMT

‘Indefensible’ that Londoner living in UK for 44 years was told to pay upfront for treatment

Politicians, doctors and cancer charities have responded with outrage to the case of a Londoner asked to pay £54,000 for cancer treatment because he was unable to provide evidence of residency, despite having lived here for 44 years.

Albert Thompson, 63, arrived in the UK from Jamaica as a teenager in 1973, and has lived here continuously ever since. He is currently not receiving the radiotherapy treatment he needs for prostate cancer because the London hospital where he was due to be treated told him he needed to provide proof of residency or pay upfront for treatment.

Related: Londoner denied NHS cancer care: 'It's like I'm being left to die'

Related: As a doctor, I can see that denying NHS care to immigrants is inhumane | Kitty Worthing

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As a doctor, I can see that denying NHS care to immigrants is inhumane | Kitty Worthing
Mon, 12 Mar 2018 13:39:58 GMT

The government’s charging regime risks costing the lives of thousands of people who can’t pay, such as Albert Thompson, who moved here 44 years ago

Last week, the Guardian reported on the case of Albert Thompson, a man who came to London 44 years ago from Jamaica, at a time when many people from Commonwealth countries were migrating to the UK. This includes, of course, the thousands of nurses from Jamaica recruited in response to the NHS staffing crisis of the 1950s and 60s. Thompson’s mother was in fact one of these nurses.

Related: 'Shameful': widespread outrage over man denied NHS cancer care

One woman with precarious immigration status died after she was too frightened to seek treatment for pneumonia

Related: The PFI bosses fleeced us all. Now watch them walk away | George Monbiot

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Salisbury spy attack: moral equivalence and the defence of the realm | Letters
Sun, 11 Mar 2018 18:03:34 GMT
Readers react to the poisoning of the Russian spy Sergei Skripal, while Helena Kennedy questions the government’s position on visas for human rights abusers

Simon Jenkins asks whether there is a moral difference between drone strikes against British citizens fighting with Islamic State in Syria and the apparent assassination attempt against Sergei Skripal in Salisbury (We’re guilty in Syria, yet rage over Salisbury, 9 March).

Perhaps I can explain. Reyaad Khan and Junaid Hussain were actively planning terror attacks in the UK, and, in the words of the parliamentary committee report, posed a “very serious threat” to this country (Briton killed in drone strike on Isis, 26 April 2017.

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Home Office broke its own rules on avoiding family separations
Sun, 11 Mar 2018 17:16:51 GMT

Children taken into care in Manchester despite official guidelines after arrest of father

The Home Office broke its own rules when British children had to be taken into care after officials arrested their father.

The children, aged eight, six and five, were expecting to be collected from school near their home in Manchester by their father, Kenneth Oranyendu, 45, on Friday afternoon but instead social workers took them into care.

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Londoner denied NHS cancer care: 'It's like I'm being left to die'
Sat, 10 Mar 2018 06:00:10 GMT

Albert Thompson, in UK for 44 years, was told he must pay for care after Home Office dispute

When Albert Thompson went for his first radiotherapy session for prostate cancer in November he says he was surprised to be taken aside by a hospital administrator and told that unless he could produce a British passport he would be charged £54,000 for the treatment.

Thompson has lived in London for 44 years, having arrived from Jamaica as a teenager, and although he has worked as a mechanic and paid taxes for more than three decades, the Home Office is disputing his eligibility to remain.

Related: ‘I’ve been here for 50 years’: the scandal of the former Commonwealth citizens threatened with deportation

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