Sheffield Council leaders condemn immigration proposals
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The strongly-worded letter was co-signed by councillors Terry Fox, leader of the council, and Alison Teal, executive member for neighbourhoods, and sent to Priti Patel home secretary.
It criticises the government’s proposals for new laws that make it harder for those who enter the UK illegally to stay.
In the letter, leaders said: “Sheffield is incredibly proud to have been the first City of Sanctuary in the UK and we continue to warmly welcome those who seek asylum. As a city, we strongly believe in showing compassion and kindness to those from all walks of life whom, for many reasons, find themselves seeking sanctuary.
“If ‘The New Plan’ for immigration is accepted into legislation, this Government will have served to make it significantly harder, and more costly, both economically and socially, for us to respond effectively to this vulnerable group.
“The New Plan for Immigration will not ‘fix the broken asylum system’. In the absence of robust, evidence-based argument to the contrary, we believe that this plan is likely to worsen the current position, not just for those seeking asylum in the UK, but also for the UK as a host nation and its citizens.
“The current asylum system is already difficult for all those forced to endure it. It is a lengthy and complicated process with an inefficient and ineffective system which only highlights that it is not those seeking asylum that are the problem. The fault lies with the system.”
They went on to say, “We ask the Government to work with us in carrying out an effective, robust and transparent review of the asylum system. There is a wealth of expertise and knowledge we can utilise.
“Sheffield is, and will continue to be a supportive and inclusive city. We work hard to try to provide equality and fairness for all our diverse communities. This means in education and skills, employment opportunities, suitable housing and living in safe neighbourhoods with people and communities that thrive together. We seek the same high aspirations for everyone in the city – regardless of how they came to live here.”