Channel 1 Los Angeles
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today stands with councils and civil society groups from across London and the UK urging the Government to scrap ‘deeply immoral’ plans to remove rough sleeping migrants from the UK simply for not having a home.
In a letter to the Home Secretary Priti Patel and Housing Minister Robert Jenrick, signed by 27 representatives of local authorities and London-based charities, Sadiq criticises new immigration rules announced recently by the Home Office. Under this legislation, set to be introduced before the end of the Brexit transition period, migrant rough sleepers could have their leave to remain cancelled or refused, resulting in them being deported.
These measures will deter already vulnerable people from seeking help in rebuilding their lives off the street and put them at greater risk of exploitation and infection from Covid-19.
The Mayor also speaks up for the rights of some of the most vulnerable Londoners: homeless non-UK nationals with limited access to mainstream support. This inability to access state support makes them more vulnerable to destitution and it makes it incredibly difficult for those who have lost their homes and livelihoods, some as a result of Covid-19, to find a path off the streets and into secure accommodation.
In London it is thought that up to 60 per cent of people sleeping rough may be in this situation, meaning the homelessness crisis can never truly be solved while these inequalities and restrictive hostile policies exist.
The signatories to the Mayor’s letter, including Crisis, Housing Justice and Migrants’ Rights Network, point out that while City Hall, charities and councils carried out unprecedented work as part of the ‘Everyone In’ programme at the start of the pandemic, the Covid-19 crisis has placed extreme pressure on already-stretched resources. Local authorities cannot afford to accommodate non-UK nationals with no or limited entitlements on an indefinite basis and charities are operating at reduced capacity.