Updated: Mar 22
In October 2020, the UK government introduced new immigration rules which allow immigration officers to deport or refuse asylum to those who have experienced street homelessness.
At Say it Loud Club, we are appalled by these new rules targeting the most vulnerable people in the UK, treating them with cruelty and contempt at a time when they need compassion and support. We know that members of our community - LGBTQ+ refugees and people claiming asylum - will be among those most threatened by these new rules and we cannot stand by or remain silent.
On 22 February 2021, a group of MPs tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM 1530) to condemn and scrap these new rules, and demonstrate the level of cross-party opposition. We need as many MPs as possible to sign their support for this motion and send a clear message to the government that their inhumane immigration rules will not be accepted by the British public.
Will you write to your MP to ask them to sign the motion?
Find their contact details: go to theyworkforyou.com and enter your postcode.
Check if they have already signed: https://edm.parliament.uk/early-day-motion/58119
Write your message: we've written a template below.
Hit send! Bcc us on firstname.lastname@example.org so we can keep track.
Subject line: Constituent asking Rt Hon [MP’s name] MP to support EDM 1530
Dear [Insert MP’s name],
I am writing as one of your constituents (currently residing at [insert address]) to ask you to support EDM 1530 which condemns the government’s Immigration Rules that were introduced 1 December 2020. These new rules make rough sleeping grounds for refusing or cancelling someone’s right to remain in the UK, causing further harm to people already experiencing intense vulnerability and exclusion.
People who have arrived in the UK from overseas end up sleeping rough for a variety of complicated reasons. Many rough sleepers in the UK have arrived in this country after fleeing horrific violence and persecution which has left them traumatised and in need of asylum. Though some housing support exists for people facing homelessness, it can be extremely difficult to know how to access this help when you are not familiar with public services in a new country, let alone experiencing complex trauma and isolation.
What’s more, people with pending asylum applications are currently unable to gain legal employment - trapping so many in a cycle of poverty and homelessness which makes them even more vulnerable to being targeted by these new rules.
LGBTQ+ people are disproportionately impacted by homelessness and the situation is even worse for people claiming asylum on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity. In a recent survey of members of Say it Loud Club, a charity supporting LGBTQ+ asylum seekers and refugees in the UK, 1 in 5 members had experienced street homelessness since their arrival to the UK. As a compassionate society, our government should be offering understanding and continued support for these highly vulnerable people, not threatening them with deportation.
These immigration rules will not solve the problem of housing insecurity. They will simply push our most vulnerable members of society, including refugees and asylum seekers, even further away from seeking support, and make them more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation including exploitative employment or modern slavery to avoid sleeping on the streets.
The new rules have already been condemned by human rights groups, civil society, and those who have survived homelessness. I am now calling upon you to join a growing number of your fellow colleagues to speak out against these rules in parliament.
As we emerge from the devastating crisis of COVID-19, which has demonstrated like never before the importance of coming together to look after one another, this surely cannot be the best that our nation has to offer. I urge you to speak out and stand up for the principles of compassion, fairness, and morality, by signing EDM 1530.
I look forward to receiving your acknowledgement of this letter and response to this urgent issue.
[Your postcode - this is important to confirm that you are your MP’s constituent]