Letter: The refugee crisis

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Your report "Straw regrets Immigration Service chaos" (23 March) highlighted an ongoing concern about the resources available to the Immigration Service and the entrenched attitudes within it.

We write, as chairs of the community and urban affairs committee, and the home affairs committee, of the Church of England's Board for Social Responsibility, to express concern about the deplorable situation at the immigration and nationality directorate's Croydon office.

The backlog of cases has been an openly acknowledged disgrace for some time. The present chaos not only causes great distress and frustration to the vulnerable people who are at the mercy of this erratic system but calls into question the feasibility of many of the proposals and targets in legislation currently passing through Parliament.

Decent, humane, efficient treatment is the right of all who deal with branches of the Civil Service. The remedy of the present situation, computers and backlog, must be the priority, before the proposed reforms are enacted. Consistency throughout the Home Office and public services is vital if the forms of racism highlighted by the Macpherson report are to be overcome.

+ROGER BARKING

(The Right Rev Roger Sainsbury, Bishop of Barking)

Professor RAMAN BEDI

+ROBERT LINCOLN

(The Right Rev Robert Hardy, Bishop of Lincoln)

Church House, London SW1

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