Statement on proposals for offshore asylum processing centres

“The Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE) is deeply concerned to hear recent news that the Home Secretary has assessed plans to send people seeking asylum in the UK to offshore locations, including Ascension Island. While it is clear that the UK’s asylum system is in dire need of reform, such inhumane and abhorrent considerations cannot be the answer. Instead, the Government must focus on providing safe and legal routes to the UK, and reopening refugee resettlement schemes, which have been closed since March.

With thousands of unaccompanied child refugees still living across Europe, it was also troubling to hear comments from the Immigration Minister, whose assertion that the UK has reached ‘breaking point’ replicates the language of Nigel Farage and the far-right, and ignores evidence that at least 25 UK councils have pledged to take in unaccompanied child refugees. With amendments to the Immigration Bill in support of refugee family reunification after Brexit being voted on in the House of Lords next week, we urge the government to step up and take its moral responsibility to create a fair and compassionate asylum system.

If the government is serious about learning lessons from the Windrush scandal, it should also pledge an immediate end to the Hostile Environment, rather than exploring policies which would seek to invoke hostility towards vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees.”