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The riot outside an asylum hotel underscores the urgency of a fair migration system

Editorial: The prime minister has staked his future on speeding up the processing of claims for refugee status – he must succeed

Sunday 12 February 2023 10:56 GMT
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We need a fair, humane and efficient system of processing claims for refugee status in this country
We need a fair, humane and efficient system of processing claims for refugee status in this country (PA)

Nothing can justify the thuggish behaviour of a mob outside a hotel housing asylum seekers in Knowsley, Merseyside, on Friday night. Demonstrators who threw missiles at police and set a police van on fire should be dealt with severely if caught, and further disturbances deterred by preventive policing in future.

At the same time, it has to be recognised that such disorder is likely to occur if the asylum system is failing to process applications quickly enough, leading to the housing of large numbers of applicants in temporary accommodation. While we should be grateful that there have been so few incidents of this kind, the riot in Knowsley underscores the urgency of getting to grips with a malfunctioning system.

This is not a problem that has come out of the blue. The numbers of people making the dangerous Channel crossing in small boats has been increasing for three years, while the government has been distracted by inhumane and unworkable plans from the hard work of processing applications promptly.

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