“It was right to give refuge to Afghans working with the UK following the fall of Kabul. It was right to give refuge to women and children fleeing the war in Ukraine. People in Telford and across the country have been generous and welcoming. We should be proud of our response.
What we cannot quietly accept is the abuse of our asylum system. MPs will see this abuse thought their own casework and its time to speak out.
I see people who have come here from safe countries on tourist visas, who overstay and then claim asylum. I see people come from abroad to use the Princess Royal and then present as homeless. People can take a flight to Britain on a tourist visa, bring their family and claim asylum. Once a claim is made, claimants receive accommodation, food, financial support, access to schools and healthcare. If the claim is approved, as most are, claimants can access benefits, such as universal credit, housing benefit and get an asylum integration loan. If their claim fails, we assume they are deported, but in fact many remain.
I understand why people want a better life in Britain. But this is not what asylum is for. Abuse of the system harms social cohesion and erodes our sympathy for those who deserve asylum.
This week I was told by a family on a tourist visa, that they chose Britain because it was it was a good place to raise a family. Having claimed asylum, they wanted my help to be prioritised for a family home. Another family came from a safe country, had a baby at PRH, presented as homeless, and complained to me about the hotel accommodation they were given. Local people see young male asylum claimants accommodated in much needed new build retirement homes in Telford and tell me about the disruption this causes.
We cannot accommodate everyone who wants to come here. Our local services are under pressure, we have a housing shortage. Residents deserve to know what is happening in their community. We cannot pretend there is nothing to see here. If we quietly accept abuse of the system, it will get worse. I am not prepared to see that happen.”
This article was written for the Telford Journal and published before the horrific attack by Abdul Ezedi.