home office purchases tents for asylum seekers
According to plans created by the home secretary, Suella Braverman, up to 2,000 migrants could be housed in tents on abandoned military sites starting in the following month to avoid housing asylum seekers in hotels.
Despite warnings from some in the government that housing asylum seekers in tents could result in legal challenges based on inhumane treatment, the Home Office purchased the marquees recently in anticipation of an expected increase in small boat crossings in August.
Despite Rishi Sunak’s promise to “stop the boats,” more than 14,000 people have crossed illegally so far this year, and the summer is predicted to be the busiest season for crossings. A record 47,755 people entered the UK last year via small boats, with 51% of those arrivals occurring in August, September, and October.
When the Home Office built several temporary marquees at the Manston processing center, which is located on the grounds of a former army barracks, workers for the Home Office later reported that people were cramped together without access to fresh air and sleeping on mats on the floor. “None of it had been set up with decent hygiene facilities, bedding or anything,” a representative told the Guardian on condition of anonymity. I observed individuals sprawled across open cardboard boxes. It was pretty horrible to witness.
The new tents Braverman purchased will be set up alongside other “temporary facilities” like portable toilets and showers, with heaters “on standby” if temperatures drop, according to the Times. These improvised tents were not intended to be used for more than a few days.
According to a government source who spoke to the newspaper, Boris Johnson’s administration considered using tents, but decided against it for fear of potential legal repercussions. The newspaper was informed that some government officials even made the comparison to concentration camps.
The Home Office declined to confirm the report but stated that the government has long held the position that using hotels to house asylum seekers is “not acceptable”
Meanwhile, it’s believed that a small number of people living at the former RAF site at Wethersfield in Braintree, Essex, tested positive for tuberculosis.
The cases are being tested to see if they are still active.
Scabies has been found in other asylum seekers at the location, and there is also one case of scurvy.
According to the Home Office, there is no risk to the general public.