We support our colleagues from the legal community in their call for an “urgent, humane and effective governmental response to the refugee crisis” (Report, 12 October). As social workers, we also want to see appropriate funding of specialist social and health care support for refugees and asylum seekers and for coordination of volunteer community initiatives. This should particularly apply to support for unaccompanied minors seeking asylum. The immigration bill needs to be shelved. If passed into law, it will curtail support for those people refused asylum who have legally previously been supported. This would clearly not be in a family’s or child’s best interests and it is impossible to see how these proposals will comply with the need to safeguard children.
Equally, the “detained fast-track” system must end. Currently, many people arriving in the UK are detained from the minute they claim asylum here. The entire asylum claim is processed while they are locked in a high security immigration detention centre. People whose claims are heard while in detention are not dealt with fairly and the decision to detain them violates their right to liberty. We urge the government to consider all appellants on the “fast track” and offer suitable, community-based, accommodation.