A CHARITY boss has claimed Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick told staff at an asylum reception centre to paint over wall art meant to be “welcoming” for children.

CEO of the Refugee Council, Enver Solomon, told the i Paper that Jenrick gave the order on the same visit to the Kent asylum intake unit earlier this year in which he also told workers to take down colourful welcome signs.

Apparently, this was to make clear how the centre wasn’t a “welcome centre” but a “law enforcement environment”.

Recounting the minister’s visit, Solomon said: “The Immigration Minister said pictures of cartoons and animals must be removed and that staff should make sure they are painted over, as they give an impression of welcoming, which Jenrick didn’t want to show.

“This demonstrates that the hostile environment has become so entrenched, that today we have lost sight of humanity.”

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It comes after the House of Lords demanded a string of changes to the Illegal Migration Bill on Monday including strict time limits on the detention of children and pregnant women, protections for victims of modern slavery and safeguards for the care of unaccompanied youngsters.

The bill aims to ensure those who arrive in the UK without permission will be detained and promptly removed, either to their home country or a third country.

Provisional figures showed more than 11,000 migrants had so far made the Channel crossing this year, with a record for June of 3824.

A Home Office spokesman told i: “We do all we can to ensure children are safe, secure and supported as we urgently seek placements with a local authority.

“All children receive a welfare interview on their arrival at accommodation, which includes questions designed to identify potential indicators of trafficking or safeguarding issues.

“Our priority is to stop the boats and disrupt the people smugglers. The government has gone further by introducing legislation which will ensure that those people arriving in the UK illegally are detained and promptly removed to their country of origin or a safe third country.”