Nationality and Borders Bill
City of Sanctuary has been working with #TogetherWithRefugees to oppose the bill which ignores the realities of why people have to flee and seek sanctuary and does not address any of the problems it purports to resolve. There have been protests throughout England, a week of action last Ooctober ’21 culminating in a mass rally outside Parliament and further protests in December and January ’22. ExCoS and Exeter Amnesty spoke out against the Bill at the recent rally in Exeter on15/1/22 (see News section )
In December the Bill passed its 3rd reading in Parliament with MPs essentially voting to end the asylum system. The Bill is now in the H of Lords
City of Sanctuary has made the following statement on it’s website:
The UN has taken the unusual step of strongly and publicly opposing these plans and judge the Bill contravenes international law / Refugee Convention. City of Sanctuary is in solidarity with our partners in calling the Nationality and Borders Bill the Anti-Refugee Bill given its content.
The Bill’s Proposals:
- only refugees arriving through extraordinarily restricted “official” routes, such as refugee resettlement, will be allowed to claim protection
- will punish and criminalise people forced to take “irregular” routes to claim asylum in the UK, deeming them “inadmissible” to the asylum system and liable to prosecution. The Home office will attempt to remove them from the UK.
If they cannot be deported, they may be allowed to claim asylum in the UK but if they receive refugee status as a result they will not be given the right to settle. Instead, they will be regularly reassessed for removal, with limited rights to family reunion and benefits
The proposals also include plans to accommodate most asylum seekers in institutional centres and offshore processing, thereby amending the National Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 to make it possible to move people whilst an asylum claim is pending. We have seen various reported suggestions for locations but what remains is that, as we have seen in Australia, offshore processing is an inhumane and dangerous way to treat our fellow human beings.
Clause 9 allows for British citizens to be stripped of their citizenship right without notice
10th May ’21. A new Coalition Campaign group, #Together With Refugees, has launched. City of Sanctuary and Exeter City of Sanctuary has joined.
#TogetherWithRefugees brings together a coalition of more than 100 national, local, refugee-led and grassroots groups, who believe in a fairer asylum system and showing compassion to people fleeing war & persecution. The campaign opposes the Borders Bill, is calling for upholding the ‘right to asylum’, where people can seek safety in the UK, no matter how they came here. Also that People can live in dignity while they wait to hear if they will be granted protection. More info here: Borders Bill is expected for debate in Commons in September.
April 1. 2021 New Immigration Plan:
Last week the UK Government announced new plans for changes to the asylum system. Taken in their entirety the proposals represent an attack on the right to seek sanctuary in the UK and will do little to address the systemic, long-term failures of the system that cause such extreme hardship to people seeking sanctuary.
At a recent refugee sector meeting, convened by Asylum Reform Initiative, Jonathan Featonby (British Red Cross) helpfully summarised the main changes, see Presentation on Immigration Plan. There are also commentaries which provide further details, including Free Movement and JCWI’s explainer.