22 August 2020
What: Mercy Baguma, an asylum seeker from Uganda, is found dead next to her crying baby in a flat in Glasgow. As an asylum seeker without leave to remain, she was subject to the no recourse to public funds (NRPF) policy, denying her access to basic welfare and social services. She was living in ‘extreme poverty’, having been left functionally destitute by the asylum system.
Why significant: NRPF means that individuals are put in an impossible position – unable to access state benefits but also banned from working to support themselves. Mercy’s death sparked an outcry against the UK’s “hostile environment” for immigrants, the policies introduced in 2012 by then-Home Secretary Theresa May in an attempt to make life unbearable for migrants in the UK.