British minister removes salacious images from asylum seeker center for minors

A room at a reception center for underage asylum seekers in Dover was until recently decorated with cartoon characters.Pictured is HM Inspector General of Prisons

In April, staff at the Kent Intake Unit in Dover were told to get rid of Mickey Mouse and Baloo, a British newspaper reported. I am. According to Secretary of State Robert Jenrick, cheerfulness is no match for a relaxed immigration office. The staff didn’t respond to the order, and then earlier this week painters arrived with pots of paint to whitewash the walls again.

The move has created a stir. Various cartoonists offered to decorate the walls with drawings, but it was almost impossible to enter the shelter without permission. Opposite Guardian Stephen Kinnock, Labor’s spokesman for immigration, said the idea that the move would slow the arrival of boats carrying asylum seekers was “absolutely ridiculous”.

About the author
Patrick van IJzendoorn is a correspondent for England and Ireland D Volkskrant. He has lived in London since 2003 and has written several books, including one on Brexit.

Disincentive policy

Genrick’s intervention is reminiscent of the policy of disincentives under former home secretary Theresa May, a fellow party member. Since 2012, tasks have been assigned by May to create a ‘hostile climate’ for people staying illegally on the island. For example, vehicles drove around with billboards inviting illegal immigrants to come in.

The policy had little effect, apart from bureaucratic blunders granting illegal status overnight to dozens of people from the Caribbean who had been living legally in the UK for decades. The Windrush affair caused a stir five years ago and led to the resignation of May’s successor, Amber Rudd. Meanwhile, illegal immigration has increased sharply.

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Boat settlers

The uproar over the murals shows the level of panic within the government. Kent beaches are visited by boat migrants almost every day. It was even three hundred on Friday. They have already been rescued at sea by the Coast Guard. With this, the government wants to prevent images of migrants from running successfully on the beach. That’s bad PR.

After a change in the law, illegal immigrants can no longer invoke a law against ‘modern slavery’ introduced by May. Currently, the ministry is moving asylum seekers from hotels to other reception facilities, such as old boats along the coast. On one such boat in Dorset, €444,000 is earmarked for free English courses.

Deportation blocked

Asylum seekers are registered at a reception center in Kent stating that they are minors. As they often do not have official documents, it is often impossible to verify the correct age. The majority of asylum seekers are young people traveling alone. A planned extradition to Rwanda has been blocked by a court.

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