Matthew Gordon-Banks

Is the Home Office frightening asylum seekers with letters about Rwanda?

The UK’s official Labour Party opposition in Parliament has accused the government of being in disarray after Home Office sources admit sending letters “by mistake” to asylum seekers telling them they were imminently to be deported to Rwanda.

The UK House of Lords is currently working its way through scrutinising The Rwanda Bill as it makes its way through Parliament.

When approached about these letters the Home Office said that they were sent in error and that they ought to be disregarded. The Home Office has promised to send out further letters clarifying matters.

A high proportion of asylum seekers come from countries such as Iraq and Syria, where their countries have been disrupted by western military actions. Many have already had their cases fast-tracked and been granted asylum but many others have been waiting a very long time.

Recipients have been told in writing that they may be removed to Rwanda and that Rwanda has agreed to accept him.

Understandably the asylum seekers are fearful of being sent to Rwanda. Many of those desiring asylum say the threat of being forcibly removed would not act as a deterrent to others seeking to travel to the UK. The Home Office admitting its mistake hardly mitigates the suffering of those that received these letters. The mental health issues and not knowing if and when their asylum applications will be properly be considered must weigh heavily on their minds, especially if the process is a long one.

The situation is awful. It really does make one ask “is the Home Office really fit for purpose”. Former Home Secretary John Reid, now Lord Reid of Cardowan, said it was not in 2006; when he headed the Department as Home Secretary. Has anything changed?

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