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UK judge rules that home secretary acted unlawfully over asylum seekers

July 25, 2023 at 11:51 am

Secretary of State for the Home Department Suella Braverman leaves 10 Downing Street after attending the Weekly Cabinet Meeting in London, United Kingdom . [Raşid Necati Aslım/Anadolu Agency]

A judge in the UK has ruled that the home secretary acted unlawfully in not providing basic support to asylum seekers including young children and pregnant women.

Mr Justice Swift found that Suella Braverman broke the law by withholding £3 ($3.8) a week for healthy food for children up to three years old and pregnant women after lawyers representing five asylum seekers challenged the home secretary in the high court.

Hotel food for the asylum seekers was pasta, rice, chips, mashed potato and dry sandwiches which meant they had no access to healthy food when relying only on the hotel food, reports the Guardian.

One of the asylum seekers begged in shops for leftover food for their child.

Asylum seekers are not permitted to work in the UK in the first year here and they are not allowed to claim benefits.

The government provides them with £47.39 ($60.86) a week and is legally obligated to give suitable support to their dependents, including a weekly allowance of £3 for pregnant women.

The Home Office must now give these payments to thousands of pregnant women under three years old who live in hotels.

READ: Rwanda takes issue with UK judicial system over migration deal

The government’s cruel migration policy was recently spotlighted when the UK’s Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick ordered that Disney cartoon characters at a children’s asylum centre in Kent be painted over to make it clear it was not a “welcome centre.”

A petition to reverse the decision said it displayed “needless cruelty against children who already face immense hardship.”

The government has faced a raft of challenges to its migration policy. The High Court ruling comes not long after a court found that the government’s Rwanda migration deal, in which asylum seekers arriving via “irregular routes” will be sent to Rwanda for processing, is unlawful.

In June, the Court of Appeal said that Rwanda is not a safe country for asylum seekers and refugees and that there were substantial grounds to believe asylum seekers sent there would be repatriated to their home countries where they would face persecution or inhumane treatment.

An impact assessment found that the cost of sending one person to Rwanda under the deal could be over $200,000.

In 2021, according to the Migration Observatory, the top five nationalities seeking asylum in the UK were Iran, Iraq, Eritrea, Albania and Syria.