Student outcry over Immigration Removal Centre expansion

first_imgDr Austen Saunders, a fellow at Oxford and supporter of the Campaign to Close Campsfield commented, “Campsfield is a waste of lives and a waste of money. It’s shocking that in this country the government can lock people up indefinitely without ever accusing them of a criminal offence – let alone having them convicted. We should be looking for alternatives to this broken system, not expanding it.”The Campaign to Close Campsfield has called a public meeting at Exeter Hall on 20th October, with plans to protest outside the Centre on the 25th. So far there are nine signatories for a joint statement protesting the expansion, including the Oxfordshire Green Party, Oxford Migrant Solidarity and Oxford University Amnesty International.The sitting MP for the area, Nicola Blackwood and both Lib Dem and Labour parliamentary candidates have all publicly spoken out against expansion.On her petition to the Home Secretary, entitled, ‘NO to Doubling the Size of Campsfield’ Blackwood states, “This proposal makes no sense for Kidlington or for our immigration system. We should be looking for alternatives to detention rather than expanding our detention programme and Campsfield House in particular has already struggled to manage with its existing numbers resulting in a series of serious incidents.”Sally Copley, the Labour candidate, told the Oxford Mail, “It’s clearly wrong to detain at all people who are not criminals but instead are fleeing conflict, let alone indefinitely. The Home Office have not made a satisfactory case for why they want to extend Campsfield House, and it’s a shame the District Council are only allowed to consider this on planning grounds, as there are strong humanitarian reasons for rejecting it.”The decision of Cherwell District Council’s Planning Committee on the proposed expansion must be based upon planning grounds alone. Plans to expand the Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre in Kidlington from 276 to around 600 beds have been submitted to Cherwell District Council, amid widespread student protest.Societies across Oxford are showing their support for the ‘Campaign to Close Campsfield’ in condemning the plans.Joanna Hynes, President of Oxford University Amnesty International told Cherwell, “Oxford University Amnesty International strongly condemn the government’s proposed plans to expand Campsfield House into a 610-bed mega-centre for immigrant detention.“The policy of indefinite detention, without judicial oversight, is in contrary to the Human Rights Act and the UN Convention on Refugees. What in theory is a centre for short-term detention immediately before deportation has been allowed to develop into systematic indefinite detention, largely for administrative reasons, with Mitie creaming off the profits of systematic human rights abuses.”Mitie PLC was contracted to manage the facility by the Home Office in 2011. In that time there have been three mass hunger strikes, one suicide and a fire at the centre in October 2013. Detainees are migrants whom the Home Office is seeking to remove from the country and deems to be at risk of absconding. They can be held indefinitely without judicial oversight.Some have been held for over two years. Alex Marshall, a member of Oxford Migrant Solidarity, said, “The people who pass through Immigration and Removal Centres such as Campsfield are not there for any crime, and those who have committed offences will already have served any sentences before arrival.We oppose all immigration detention as un-just, unnecessary, and an unacceptable breach of migrants’ most fundamental rights, and we support freedom of movement across national borders for all human beings. At a time when the government should be reducing numbers in detention and closing centres, we are dismayed by plans for Campsfield to be more than doubled in size.”last_img read more

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New Dune Erodes in Gilgo, Threatening Ocean Parkway

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A chunk of a newly rebuilt dune protecting Ocean Parkway eroded over the weekend.A nor’easter south of Long Island churned up Atlantic Ocean waves that eroded a chunk of a newly rebuilt dune in Gilgo Beach, forcing the partial closure of two lanes on Ocean Parkway.The part of the new 20-foot-wide dune that was washed away was estimated to be the length of a football field, about a half mile west of the Town of Babylon’s Gilgo Beach pedestrian underpass, with waves washing up about 20 feet south of the edge of the roadway.“Our maintenance forces are going out there to investigate,” said Patricia Audinot, a spokeswoman for the New York State Department of Transportation, which closed two of the three eastbound lanes closest to the erosion for “emergency repairs.”The state DOT, police, Department of Environmental Conservation and Emergency Management Office responded to the scene after a Babylon town bay constable noticed the erosion Saturday, according to officials at the scene.The erosion hit in part of a 5-mile stretch of manmade dunes rebuilt as part of a $33-million Sandy recovery project that reopened badly damaged stretches of the oceanfront parkway six months ago.“It’s concerning,” said Bob Hilbert, owner of the Gilgo Beach Inn, who lives on the north side of the parkway across from the washout. “We’re always losing sand, it’s a feeder beach.”He noted the ironic timing of the erosion coming as the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers beach replenishment project filling sand dredged from Fire Island Inlet onto Gilgo Beach State Park just east of the town beach.Workers who responded to the scene expressed frustration that the ocean had taken such a large bite out of the dune just before the first anniversary of the 2012 superstorm that forced them to rebuild the dune just months ago.“That’s the problem, everybody on the mainland sees the sun and thinks it’s sunny,” said one worker, “but the ocean says it’s a nor’easter.”last_img read more

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