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Immigration minister Robert Jenrick coming to Dover to meet with Kent MPs and council leaders amid fury over asylum seeker crisis

The immigration minister is coming to Dover today to meet with the town’s MP, councillors and residents amid mounting fury over the asylum seeker crisis.

Robert Jenrick's trip follows criticism that Home Secretary Suella Braverman did not set aside time to speak to local leaders during her visit to Dover and Thanet yesterday.

Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick
Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick

Addressing the Commons on Thursday, Dover MP Natalie Elphicke highlighted the effect the immigration crisis is having on her constituency.

She also said it was "a great pity" the Ms Braverman did not meet with Kent MPs and council leaders to "discuss first-hand the serious local impact on residents".

“The situation of housing people who have crossed the Channel in small boats is putting a huge strain on housing and local services,” said the Conservative.

“It’s not unheard of for local people to be turfed out of accommodation for landlords wanting higher rents.

“There are concerns that landlords are looking to cash in on lucrative long-term Home Office contracts.”

Natalie Elphicke MP for Dover
Natalie Elphicke MP for Dover

Other Kent parliamentarians have also spoken out about the poor administration refugee processing and lack of communication with local officials.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today show, Ashford MP Damian Green said the first authorities knew about hotels being booked was when the news appeared on social media.

“The Home Office’s response to the problems at Manston has been to hastily grab as many hotel as they can,” said the Conservative.

"One, as it happens, in my constituency, against the advice of the police and the local authority, and the rest of us saying ‘This isn’t a suitable location'.

"[They] moved people in there without informing even the local authority in advance. Everyone found out though social media. The day-to-day administration of this scheme is not working well.

Ashford MP Damian Green
Ashford MP Damian Green

"I think the Home Office has taken its eye off the ball. A lot of time, money and bandwidth has been used devising schemes like Rwanda, when I think the money would be better spent employing people to process asylum applications."

It comes as Kent council leaders laid out their frustration with the way in which the county has been made to bear the brunt of the crisis in a letter to the Home Office on Wednesday.

“Kent & Medway makes up just 3% of our country’s geographic space, and yet we are a victim of our geographic position,” reads the letter.

“We are continually called upon to meet national challenges and we do so willingly.

“It is time to utilise the remaining 97% of the country to relieve the burden on Kent."

The letter also said Ashford and Canterbury "currently have no Year 7 and Year 9 places for local children due to the unexpected and therefore unplanned for arrivals of refugee children disproportionately placed by the Home Office in these two local authority areas".

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