TWENTY church representatives including four Anglican bishops, have written to the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, asking him to end the Government’s Hostile Environment policies.
The letter, published last week, says that the set of policies “deliberately prevents people who cannot provide the right documentation — for whatever reason — from getting work, renting a home or accessing the kinds of services we all need to live”.
It draws attention to a recent report from the Baptist Union, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church, and the United Reformed Church, Destitution, Discrimination and Distrust: The web of the hostile environment, which shows, the letter says, that the policies are “leading to poverty, homelessness and avoidable suffering. We believe it is inhumane to use destitution, or the threat of destitution, as a policy tool to encourage people to leave the country.
“We are also concerned by the mounting evidence that hostile environment measures are causing racist discrimination. People who do not look or sound ‘British’ are now facing increased difficulty in finding homes and employment, because landlords and employers are being asked to play the role of border guards.”
The leaders ask for a “full and independent review of immigration policy and practice to examine the damaging effect that the policies of the hostile environment are having on the whole of society”. They urge the Home Secretary to “adopt an approach to immigration that treats every individual, whatever their status, with humanity, dignity, respect and fairness.”
Signatories of the letter include the Bishops of Croydon, Loughborough, and Lewes, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and representatives from the Methodist, Baptist, and United Reformed Churches.