Heartbreaking letter ‘thrown over migrant centre fence’ begs for help

Robert Jenrick grilled by Nugent on illegal migrant crossings

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A young migrant girl who threw a note over the fence of a detention centre has told journalists she and other residents are “sick” as she begged for help. The unidentified girl reportedly threw the note over a fence in Manston, Kent, the Border Force location at the centre of the latest migrant controversy that has plagued the Government for nearly a week. In her handwritten note, she pled with the outside world for assistance as residents feel “we’re in prison”.

The girl’s heartbreaking letter, which she stuffed into a bottle before casting it over the centre’s fence, was picked up by a photographer working with the Press Association news agency.

She reaches out to “everyone” and claims that up to 50 families have lived within the building’s walls for the last 30 days.

The note adds that many of them are “very bad”, “not very well”, and have “difficult” lives.

She claims that the food they receive makes them “feel sick”, adding that those who feel unwell or require attention receive only paracetamol.

The letter adds: “They don’t even let us go outside. We really need help. Please help us, please.

“It is not easy for families to stay in prison for 30 days. It is not easy for someone who has children.”

The girl later states: “There’s a lot of children, they shouldn’t be here.

“They should be in a school, not prison.”

The Mansion detention centre should only hold detainees for a maximum of 24 hours for processing.

The building also has a maximum occupancy rate of 1,600, but estimates suggest authorities are holding up 70 4,000, more than double the limit.

Officials have extracted hundreds of people from the site, and reports suggested a group of 11 asylum seekers were left in London on Wednesday.

Volunteers from homelessness charity Under One Sky told The Guardian they were “disturbed and completely disoriented”, while the British Transport Police confirmed they had sought accommodation for the group.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Manston remains resourced and equipped to process migrants securely and we will provide alternative accommodation as soon as possible.

“We urge anyone who is thinking about leaving a safe country and risking their lives at the hands of vile people smugglers to seriously reconsider.

“Despite what they have been told, they will not be allowed to start a new life here.”

The department added that it provides for basic needs of migrants arriving in the UK, and prioritises the safety and welfare of detention centre residents and staff. 

The chaos has now led to legal action, immigration ministers have revealed.

Robert Jenrick told Sky News that officials have launched a judicial review into the situation.

He told The Take’s Sophy Ridge that the Home Office has received “initial contact” for the review.

But, he added: “That’s not unusual, this is a highly litigious area of policy but of course, as the minister responsible, I want to make sure everything we do is conducted appropriately and within the law.”

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