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General election 2019- request for information from our prospective parliamentary candidates.

As with our By Election earlier this year I wrote to all candidates seeking their views  on 22nd November as follows:-

Dear Candidate,

I write on behalf of Hay, Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees, a local support group with over 450 members in Brecon and Radnorshire who want to know if you will make a commitment to ensure that your party will work to improve conditions for asylum seekers in the UK, please.  I will share this letter and any responses with our members and supporters.
In particular we are concerned about the  areas below ,
1  Right to Work.  We are part of the Lift the Ban coalition which campaigns to give people seeking asylum the right to work once they have been here for over 6 months.
Currently, many are left to live in poverty, struggling to support themselves and their families, whilst the Government wastes the talents of thousands of people who could contribute to our society by paying tax, reducing the burden on the state, and benefiting local communities up and down this country with their skills.
There is no evidence to support the Government’s argument that the right to work would attract more asylum seekers.
We are particularly concerned as a man we knew died a year ago when, on his first day of work, his workplace was raided by the immigration service. He had been waiting for over 3 years for his asylum claim to be accepted. Desperation, boredom and poverty may force people to work illegally.

Will you make a commitment to ensure that people seeking asylum are given the right to work?

2.  Detention.  As things stand, it is Government policy to detain people, who have committed no crime and are seeking safety, for months or even years, often in unpleasant conditions with brutal treatment. In 2018 It cost £108 million [ more than £600 a week for an individual in detention]  for immigration detention and 2016–17, there were 143 cases of wrongful detention, for which £3.3m compensation was paid.
This is a matter of great concern to us and many others.
Many are released without being deported but enormous psychological harm is done to these individuals.  We know a man who was detained unexpectedly last year and released after a few weeks. He has told us how ill he became whilst in detention – fearing for his life in the event of being deported which he was told several times was going to happen imminently. He had been tortured in his own country and being detained brought back these memories.

Will you make a commitment to ensure that in line with the rest of Western Europe the UK has a maximum time limit on immigration detention? Will you commit to ensuring that the use of detention is minimised and subject to Judicial review?
3 Destitution. The Home Office has a duty to ensure that people who require support whilst waiting for a decision upon their asylum claim do not fall into destitution and homelessness. Yet many vulnerable  people are being wrongly denied assistance or are waiting unreasonable lengths of time to receive the support they are entitled to. Thankfully voluntary groups like Share Tawe, Share Dydd and Refugees at Home help out.
Will you make a commitment to deliver dignity not destitution for people seeking asylum?
 4 Home office decision making.  Handling of immigration matters by the Home Office has become a national scandal. Combined with wrongful policies (especially ‘hostile environment’) there are persistent and systematic errors and inefficiencies and expense.
We are all aware of errors such as the deportation of ‘Windrush immigrants ‘, errors in applying immigration law and the asylum process dragging on for many years.  An Iranian man we know was finally granted refugee status last week having applied over 10 years ago when he was 16 – such a waste of formative years and skills.   The latest reports of errors with fast track also alarm us.

Will you make a commitment to ensure that your party reviews immigration policy and brings the management of the Home Office in line with human rights?

We look forward to your response on these topics. Whilst there are few if any people seeking asylum in our area, there are 3000 in Wales and our group are united in our concern that people fleeing persecution should be  welcomed and treated with kindness.  Will  you assure us that if you are elected as our representative you will take these matters forward, please?

To our Labour candidate and Liberal Democrat Candidates who responded with such details last time I gave them the option that I would use the comments that they made before if they felt  that their views hadn’t changed.

Tom Davies  Labour responded twice on 2nd December as follows_


Further to the below and my comments on Thursday, please feel free to re-use the comments made during the by-election.

Both the Labour Party and I remain committed to ending the hostile environment of refugees and those seeking asylum..


Further to your email and our (albeit brief) discussion on Thursday, please note that I would be committed to giving child refugees safe and legal routes to the UK.

Please refer to my comments provided during the Brecon and Radnor by-election as well as the following which is included in the Welsh Labour Manifesto:

Refugees are victims of wars, environmental catastrophes, famine or persecution. This government has failed its international legal obligations to refugees and to allow people to exercise their rights to seek asylum. A Labour government will uphold those rights and meet those obligations. We will work with others to resume rescue missions in the Mediterranean, co-operate with the French authorities to put an end to the horrific camps, and establish safe and legal routes for asylum seekers. Once here, refugees will have the right to work, access to public services and will be treated humanely by government at all levels.


Jane Dodds let me know that her statement last time was still relevant..

To date- 8th December – I’ve not heard from any of the other candidates……