‘Sanctuary City’: Mayor of Bristol Calls on Locals to Host Migrants in Their Homes

Thousands marched in central London calling on the British government to do more to help refugees fleeing conflict and persecution. / AFP / DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images

The progressive mayor of Bristol has backed a scheme that would place asylum seekers in the homes of residents in the English city, to reduce the number of migrants sleeping rough on the streets.

The Bristol Hospitality Network (BHN) — which claims to represent “destitute asylum seekers in Bristol” — said that, currently, the hostel which houses migrants in the city is at full capacity, and therefore it is calling on the public to take in migrants.

Marvin Rees, the Labour Party mayor of the city, came out in support of the scheme, saying that Bristol should be a city “where everyone feels welcome and safe”, according to the BBC.

The director of BHN, Lizzie Briggs, said that after migrants are refused asylum status, they are given 21 extra days of free accommodation — at the expense of the British taxpayer — “so wherever there is Home Office accommodation for asylum seekers, there are refused asylum seekers made destitute, sofa-surfing, or street homeless”.

She said that at any given time, the charity estimates 100 bogus asylum seekers remain in the city.

“This isn’t just a Bristol problem, and every city will be taking its own approach to dealing with it,” Briggs said.

“Bristol is a city of sanctuary, with a strong refugee and asylum seeker sector working closely with both Bristol City Council and the local community to find short, medium, and long-term solutions for this hidden and destitute population,” she pronounced.

There are an estimated 48,000 asylum seekers in the United Kingdom. However, the true number is likely far higher in light of the record numbers of illegal boat migrants crossing the English Channel at present.

The government has only successfully deported 2.6 per cent of an estimated 5,795 illegal boat migrants since the start of 2019. Of the 2,860 migrants that have reached British shores illegally since May of this year, zero have been deported.

Migrants claiming asylum in the country are typically provided taxpayer-funded free housing, access to National Health Service (NHS) healthcare, education for children between the ages of five and 17, and a weekly allowance of at least £35.39.

It is estimated that the cost of supporting so-called asylum seekers will be at least £4 billion over the coming years.

Amid the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, Bristol council has taken to housing migrants in hotels across the city. The Bristol Hospitality Network said that many of the asylum seekers are from Iraq, Syria, Sudan, and Afghanistan.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has warned that many failed asylum seekers “will still stay in the country… picking fruit, working in the rag trade in Leicester or whatever it is. They will move into the illegal slave economy in this country.”

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka

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