Migrant rights, race relations, and community groups have signed an open letter calling for full immigration amnesty to all survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire who do not have regularised immigration status.
Forty organisations including Liberty, the Runnymede Trust, the Institute of Race Relations, and Asylum Aid have signed the petition, calling on the UK government to offer full and indiscriminate amnesty, also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’.
In the month that has followed the Grenfell Tower fire, politicians including Sadiq Khan, David Lammy and Diane Abbott have openly called for full amnesty for migrant survivors. Despite this, the UK government have only offered a 12-month amnesty. While this concession recognises the necessity for amnesty, the letter voices concern that temporary amnesty could lead to migrant survivors facing deportation at a later date, and may still leave survivors too fearful to come forward to access the support needed to rebuild their lives.
Kathryn Medien, a member of Radical Housing Network who organised the letter, has said that, “the letter is an attempt to draw necessary attention to the urgency of amnesty and highlights the failure of the government to address this issue in a sustained and long-term way. The Grenfell Tower tragedy was preventable, it was the result of systematic failures by local and central government to provide adequate and safe housing. Migrants should not be punished for these failures.”
Notes to Editors
Open Letter: Migrant Rights Groups Call for Full Amnesty for Survivors of the Grenfell Tower Fire
We, the undersigned, demand that the UK government immediately offers full immigration amnesty – known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’ – to all survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire who do not have regularised immigration status.
The Home Office have given assurances that they are not conducting immigration checks on the ground, and have offered a 12-month immigration amnesty to survivors. However, this offer doesn’t go far enough.
While the government has announced all survivors of this tragedy are eligible to be rehoused irrespective of immigration status, we know of several undocumented survivors too fearful to come forward. These migrant survivors are concerned they will be later detained and/or deported. This is confirmed by advisors on the ground who report that individuals continue to sleep rough, rather than receive the vital support they need to rebuild their lives.
This is also adding further complications for emergency services to find remaining survivors – the residents of 24 flats remain unaccounted for. Further, it is leaving families and friends in persisting anguish about their loved ones. If the UK government is truly committed to finding and supporting remaining survivors in the most timely manner, it should provide an amnesty offer that will enable all survivors to come forward.
We fear that this preventable tragedy could be used to deport and detain migrant survivors who have already suffered loss and trauma on an unimaginable scale. We demand full and indiscriminate amnesty and refuse to allow Theresa May’s government or any other public authority to further punish the survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire.
Radical Housing Network
Haringey Migrant Support Centre
Migrants’ Rights Network
SOAS Detainee Support
Movement for Justice
Global Justice Brighton & Hove
Global Justice Worthing
The Unity Centre Glasgow
Unite Hotel Workers Branch
Global Justice Bexhill and Hastings
Unite Restaurant Workers Branch
Against Borders for Children
Good Law Project
Haringey Anti Raids
Docs Not Cops
We Will Rise
Leeds No Borders
Global Justice Manchester
Institute of Race Relations
No Deportations – Residence Papers for All
Bail for Immigration Detainees
Duncan Lewis Solicitors
London Welcome Project
Centre for Research on Race and Law
No One Is Illegal
Redbridge Equalities & Community Council
Miscarriages of Justice UK
Camden Law Centre
Hackney Migrant Centre
DASH (Destitute Asylum Seekers Huddersfield)
South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group
Latin American House
Global Justice Sheffield