Being homeless is not a crime!
A recent Home Office policy (May 2016) says that rough sleeping is an ‘abuse’ of EU citizens’ right of freedom of movement.
This ‘abuse of right’ rule, usually used against people who commit criminal offences, is being used to round up rough sleepers across London and take them to detention centres. Polish and Romanian homeless people in particular are falling victim to immigration enforcement.
This divisive new policy is criminalising some of the most vulnerable people in Britain. Rather than being helped to access the social services they need, homeless people are seeing their sleeping sites raided. Some are detained immediately while others are issued with removal papers. The government is now asking local councils to collaborate with ICE (Immigration Compliance and Enforcement) teams on the removal of rough sleepers.
Vulnerable members of our community should receive support and should not be criminalised!
SHOW SOLIDARITY WITH VULNERABLE MIGRANTS IN OUR COMMUNITY!
Help us challenge the ‘administrative removal’ (deportation) of European citizens from the UK on the grounds that they are homeless. People who are homeless should be helped, not criminalised, issued with removal papers or detained.
Many of those affected have lived in the UK for years, usually working and paying tax. They end up on the streets due to harsh welfare rules that limit their entitlement to benefits. Many rough sleepers have substance abuse and mental health issues. Almost all are at risk of exploitative labour conditions – and now this.
Stories of some individuals affected by the policy can be read here:
What you can do
Publicize the following resources which give rough sleepers advice on what to do if detained or served with papers:
Bust card (English) (Polish) (Romanian) (Bulgarian) (Italian) (Portuguese) (Russian ) (Lithuanian) (Latvian)
Fact Sheet for European Rough Sleepers (English) (Italian) (Polish) (Czech) (Lithuanian) (Romanian) (Portuguese)
Write to your local MP protesting this policy. Pro forma letter here.
Write to your local councillor asking them not to collaborate with immigration enforcement to deport rough sleepers. Pro forma letter here.