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Articles: Asylum centre downsizing reassurances

Contributed by localrags on Oct 02, 2003 - 03:17 AM

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<FONT color=#000080 size=5><P align=left><FONT face=Arial color=black size=4>
REASSURANCES TO
<FONT color=black><FONT face=Arial> DOWNSIZE ASYLUM CENTRE WELCOMED BY COUNCIL<IMG alt="Asylum seekers trying to enter UK" hspace=20 src="http://www.localrags.org/images/calaisasylum.jpg" align=left vspace=20 border=1>

The Leader of Dover District Council is welcoming reassurances from the Government that proposals for downsizing the Dover Induction Centre are being looked into, and that sufficient resources will be kept at the port following changes in frontier controls.

These reassurances are made in a letter to Cllr Paul Watkins from the Minister of State for the Home Office, Beverley Hughes.

On the issue of ‘juxtaposed immigration controls’ in Dover and Calais, Beverley Hughes, MP, writes: "Sufficient resources will remain in Dover to deal with any persons found in the Port of Dover, and to operate the enforcement and contact management functions of the Immigration Service.

The juxtaposed controls will increase the effectiveness of the immigration control as a whole."The letter goes on to say that the number of asylum seekers presenting in Dover has considerably reduced in recent months, and this trend looks set to reduce further.

The letter says that with this in mind, Home Office officials have been asked to draft proposals on the potential downsizing of the Dover Induction Centre.The letter to the Leader of the Council follows a number of recommendations from DDC’s Scrutiny Committee on Asylum Seeker issues, which were sent to the Home Office for consideration.

The Leader of Dover District Council is welcoming the Minister’s response but is replying to draw attention to a number of ongoing issues, including Dover’s position as a major accommodation centre for Asylum Seekers.

He is asking about issues of people who have been refused asylum and who are sleeping rough on the streets, and on support for local voluntary organisations who look after these people. He is also concerned about issues of people ‘absconding’ from detention centres, and is requesting information on unreported ‘escapes’ from the Dover Removal Centre.

Cllr Paul Watkins, Leader of DDC, said: "We welcome these reassurances from the Government but will continue to work to ensure that the concerns of people in Dover are properly listened to."