Priti Patel’s plan to ‘offshore’ asylum seekers is callous

Priti Patel’s proposed legislation to send asylum seekers overseas while their claims or appeals are pending is ruthless (Report, 28 giugno).

Ci sono 41,700 asylum seekers or resettled persons in the UK. Many have been waiting for years for their claim to be dealt with by the Home Office. They live in poor and often squalid dispersal accommodation, on less than £40 per week. They cannot work. Poverty and uncertainty often lead to serious physical and mental health issues in asylum seekers and their children.

Some of the women who attend the Liberal Jewish Synagogue’s drop-in for asylum seeker families have been trafficked. Many who arrive in this country after dangerous and traumatic journeys have been persecuted and tortured.

Now the home secretary plans to remove them “offshore”, to create more trauma in their lives. That she is even contemplating further stressful journeys and the harrowing experience of detention for individuals who have suffered enough, is unspeakably callous.

Asylum claims should be processed within six months and if still not settled, then asylum seekers should be allowed to work and live among us as the homeborn.

We should be deeply pained by the way we are with the stranger who lives in our midst. Even in a tribal society, più di 2,500 anni fa, it was taught: “When strangers reside with you in your land, you shall not wrong them. The strangers who live with you shall be to you as your citizens…” (Leviticus 19:33-34).

We should protest forcibly against such plans and demand that asylum seekers be able to fill some of the thousands of jobs that have fallen vacant over the past year.
Alexandra Wright
Senior rabbi, Liberal Jewish Synagogue

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