THE GOVERNMENT'S move to allow the deportation migrants who become homeless has sparked anger across the UK.

Brighton and Hove's Green group are among those to voice their opposition to the updated immigration rules.

Changes to immigration rules mean rough sleeping can now be considered a basis for refusal, or cancellation of permission to remain in the UK.

The Home Office said "the new provision will be used sparingly" but city councillors argued the plans are "discriminatory" and will "undermine efforts to support those at risk".

Green councillors Siriol Hugh-Jones and David Gibson, who jointly chair Brighton and Hove City Council's housing committee, have issued a statement on the matter.

It reads: "Homelessness is not a crime, and we resist any attempt to treat it as such. 

"The council’s priority is to support those sleeping rough into safe, secure accommodation and help them make a permanent move off the streets. 

"The pandemic and the resulting economic crisis make this ongoing support more vital than ever.

"The government has changed the immigration rules to make rough sleeping a legal ground for deportation from the UK. 

"We believe this is discriminatory, wrong and likely to play into the hands of exploitative landlords, employers and criminals."

They also argued that the work the council carries out to help rough sleepers in the city "is based on trust".

Their statement read: "The success of that work depends on our ability to gain and maintain the trust of the rough sleepers we work with, some of whom are extremely vulnerable and traumatised. 

"Trust is vital in order for people to feel able to tell us about issues like exploitation, modern slavery, abuse and other vulnerable people at risk.

“We do not support the sharing of data with the Home Office that could lead to the deportation of rough sleepers.

"Where rough sleepers have an immigration status which prohibits the use of public funds we support an approach which will assess their cases and, where they could be eligible, we will work with partners to assist them to achieve settled status. 

"We refuse to support discriminatory rules that could exacerbate the risks to which some of the most vulnerable people are exposed.”

The Brighton and Hove Greens join more than 140 other groups in condemning the rule changes.

A Home Office spokesman told The Independent: "The new rule provides a discretionary basis to cancel or refuse a person’s leave where they are found to be rough sleeping. 

"The new provision will be used sparingly and only where individuals refuse to engage with the range of support available and engage in persistent anti-social behaviour.  

"We remain committed to ending rough sleeping for good and have been working hard to ensure the most vulnerable in our society have access to safe accommodation. 

"This year alone, we have provided over £700m in funding to support rough sleepers.

"The safety and security of modern slavery victims is also a top priority for this government, and the Victim Care Contract provides support to potential and confirmed victims of modern slavery who consent to support, including accommodation."