Our role as campaigners
A key purpose of ASSIST is to make our voice heard on the issues that have a direct and adverse effect on the well-being of our clients. We do this by..
- contributing to government consultations
- generating public debate
- raising awareness
- supporting campaigns such as These Walls Must Fall and Refugee Action's Lift the Ban campaign
- signing joint letters on issues that affect people seeking asylum (see File attachments below)
Some of the issues
The Hostile Environment Policy
The term ‘Hostile Environment’ originates from the name of a government working group set up with the aim of making life more difficult for people who could not show they had immigration leave in the UK. The working group's recommendations were adopted as a policy by the then Home Secretary, Theresa May.
For people seeking asylum, the Hostile Environment Policy deliberately makes life more difficult. It creates and maintains the destitution which ASSIST exists to combat. Due to this policy, our clients ...
- Have no right to welfare benefits
- Have no right to rent accommodation
- Are prohibited from having a UK bank account
- Are prohibited from holding a UK driving licence
- Have limited access to health care
The hostile approach has spread into more and more aspects of the immigration system. What's more, we are concerned by how this hostility is spreading and influencing attitudes towards people who have come here to escape persecution and to seek sanctuary.
ASSIST is proud to support These Walls Must Fall in Sheffield. This involves persuading the local Council to pass a motion of their commitment against immigration detention, which affects all of our clients.
These Walls Must Fall is a growing network of groups, organisations, communities, people. People from all sorts of backgrounds but with one thing in common: a determination to end the injustice of immigration detention.
We also support the campaign to abolish reporting.
Health care charges
From October 2017 charges for health care, which already applied to most in-patient hospital treatment for the people supported by ASSIST, were extended to cover community health care.
Another change was to require payment before treatment except where treatment is urgent and immediately necessary.
Local organisations including ASSIST and City of Sanctuary, with Doctors of the World, and local public health experts and medical staff have been working to
- show the harm done by the policy
- try to avoid serious damage to health
- ensure that doctors understand what they can do
- try to stop patients from being deterred from seeking treatment.
Nationality and Borders Bill
We believe we need to take a united stand calling for this Bill to be thrown out and replaced with proposals for an asylum system that is kinder, fairer and more effective. We are working with Asylum Matters to make our voice heard.
Help us by pushing the campaigns through your community groups, voluntary organisations, charities, trade unions, activist groups, faith communities, student societies, sports clubs…
When you have people, groups, organisations, communities, acting together, it all adds up to some serious people power. This is what it will take to convince the politicians that they must act.
If you would like to get more involved in campaigning with us please get in touch and ask to join our campaigning mailing list where we'll keep you updated and give you actions to take to help us raise our voice.