Asylum seekers housed in Muswell Hill have been told they are to be moved, sparking protests from residents.
Seven asylum seekers housed in the National Hotel were sent letters by the Home Office on Monday (December 19) informing them of the decision to move them to Napier Barracks in Folkestone, Kent.
The abandoned army barracks has become infamous for the poor conditionsin which asylum seekers are often held.
As of Tuesday (December 20), none of the asylum seekers scheduled for transfer to Napier Barracks had been removed yet.
Speaking outside the National Hotel, leader of Haringey Council, Cllr Peray Ahmet, said that the local authority would do everything it could to prevent the transfers.
She said: “We are we going to write to the Home Office to formally request they pause the removals until they have assessed the health of the residents.
“We will advocate for residents who wish to stay in the borough.”
She said Haringey Council was not informed of the planned removals by the Home Office, and was instead alerted by local activist groups.
Campaigners raised concerns about the lack of support that would be available to vulnerable residents if they were moved from the borough.
Lucy Nabijou from Haringey Welcome, a local campaign group that advocates on behalf of refugees in Haringey, said: “One of the tactics of the hostile environment is to isolate people so that they don’t have community around them and they don’t have support.
“If people are being constantly uprooted and moved around then they can’t form relationships and access support.”
Catherine West, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, said: “This is a shameful way to treat vulnerable people just days before Christmas.
“To strip them away from this support without any warning or assessment of their needs is cruel and has caused huge anxiety for people who have already suffered unimaginable traumas.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “Our accommodation contractor at Napier provide full-board accommodation which is safe, comfortable and meets our standards of service.
“Individuals housed in our accommodation may be moved to other locations in line with the Allocation of Accommodation guidance. No one will be moved if deemed unsafe for them.”
The Home Office’s decision to move the refugees came on the same day as the High Court ruled that the government’s plan to deport some asylum seekers to Rwanda was lawful.