Today we are publishing a new report – ‘”Living in constant fear”: The impact of reporting conditions on children, young people and families in Greater Manchester.’ Click here to download our report.
Part of the Hostile Environment, reporting is a system of immigration control imposed on people, requiring them to “sign” regularly in person. Our report shows that the reporting system is doing invisible harm to children and young people. We spoke to people who have experienced reporting – before the pandemic, during the pandemic, and some still reporting now – and all spoke of the terror it caused. For families in Greater Manchester, reporting means living with uncertainty and feeling helpless; fearing detention and deportation; increased family poverty; disrupted education; and a negative impact on parenting and mental wellbeing.
Beatrice, who is seeking asylum, told us “I used to sign every two weeks. Since that time, I’m so scared. It affects me mentally – even up to now, the trauma is still with me. I would tell my daughter that if they didn’t see me, they should know that I’ve been detained. My children would be scared. It traumatised them as well.”
The Covid-19 pandemic changed the status quo when it comes to reporting. Many, like Beatrice, didn’t have to report during the pandemic, and as of May 2022 telephone reporting has been introduced as an alternative to in-person reporting. This change will make life easier for many people who will not have deal regularly with the expense, stress and fear of travelling to report.
But we have concerns, especially that people will be left behind who are reporting due to having a criminal record. During the pandemic some of the most vulnerable people were forced to keep reporting while fearing for their lives. Take Michael, who is still reporting now as well as being electronically tagged after being detained earlier this year. His criminal record is due to having tried to work with false papers. He told us how difficult he finds it trying to explain to his young daughter why he is being “tracked everywhere I go”. He said “I’m very very very disappointed and very depressed.”
Our recommendations to the Home Office nationally and in Greater Manchester are:
- An end to all in-person reporting
- Resolve the asylum backlog and stop making people apply for short forms of leave
- Resolve young people’s immigration status at the earliest opportunity
- Transparently collect and make publicly available data about reporting
- Work with us, key stakeholders and lived experience campaigners so we can make these recommendations a reality in Greater Manchester
To find out more, click here to download our report.
We’re grateful to have worked with fellow campaigners and experts by experience to create this report. Particular thanks to the Abolish Reporting Campaign, These Walls Must Fall Manchester, Women Asylum Seekers Together and to everyone who spoke to us about their experiences.
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