denim uggs Undocumented migrants could still be missing
Undocumented migrants and illegal subtenants who survived the Grenfell Tower blaze may be unaccounted for and arenot seeking state support due to fears over their immigration and housing status, charities and legal experts have warned. Underreporting of illegal subtenants could also mean the death toll is higherthan currently assumed, it is feared.
Members of the community have also raised concerns that large “swathes” of foreign nationals who lived in the block and may have been undocumented have simply “disappeared” and are not on any missing lists, raising concerns that they have either fled the site or are among the dead but unaccounted for.
Amid the mounting concerns, a government sourcesaid the Met police hadcommittedthat if victims living in the UK illegally contact the hotline set up for victims, they will take no action. They did not mention whether Home Office officials would have any involvement.
One local volunteer, who didn’t want to be named, said she had heard multiple reports that undocumented migrants living in the flats had “deliberately disappeared” following the blaze, including a large group of Filipinos.
“There must have been a bunch of people in that building who probably escaped on the night and probably ran away from the situation. There has been speak from other residents of a whole load of Filipinos living in there that no one has seen since it happened,” she said.
“There will have been other people living in those flats it seems who will have been undocumented. Those people were never there in the first place as far as the social services are concerned. Her boyfriend has gone missing and is believed to have died in the blaze. She is very scared and doesn’t want to deal with the police at all,” said the volunteer.
“She told me she acted dumb in front of police because she wasn’t legal. She was frightened. These people worry that the council is in the firing line so if they speak out they’ll hold off sorting out their paperwork. Of course there’s going to be an underlining fear if you’re not completely above board.”
Zrinka Bralo, chief executive of Migrants Organise, a support group working in the north Kensington area, said she had come across a male Somali asylum seeker who had lived in the building and was afraid to seek help,
adding that there were also many foreign nationals who had not yet appeared on missing people lists. “We helped a Somali man who had been waiting for an asylum decision, and obviously he lost all his papers in the fire. He was afraid to get help, but we encouraged him to go to the north Kensington law centre and he did, and is now getting legal support,” Ms Bralo told The Independent.
“We haven’t even established the number of victims yet and who they are. We know from our community contacts that Moroccans who were not on any of the lists, Sudanese, Eritrean and Ethiopian families who are not on any of the lists.
“Community members are organising wakes and they’re trying to figure out where people are. My main message now is that people shouldn’t be afraid. He along with campaigners is calling for an immigration status amnesty for anybody living at the tower block.
Mr Maugham toldThe Independent:”There are concerns for Grenfell Tower residents without migrant status, and also concerns for those who were subletting apartments, and those receiving benefits and whether receiving money will affect your entitlement to benefits.
“People may think I’m not going to get any compensation I’m just going to get deported. The council has a responsibility to all of these people.
“The council has a responsibility to all these people. No one should be left in a worse situation by this tragedy, and the Grenfell community must be allowed to heal together in the local area if they wish to.”
A senior government source said: “The Met have given an absolute commitment that, if anybody who may be living here illegally rings the special hotline set up for victims, they will take no action.
“There will be no attempt to find them, and nothing will be done with the informationbeyond removing them from the list of potential fatalities.”
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