We believe that there is a brighter, safer future for all of us beyond the current “hostile by design” border system. However, the latest “Illegal Migration Bill” currently fast tracked through the Parliament is designed to punish the very people who need our protection. It will harm all our communities and offer us no solutions to a growing crisis of humanity.
The Bill – which has aptly been renamed as the “Refugee Ban Bill” – will effectively end the right to claim asylum in the UK. This will be based on how people arrive. If they arrive through irregular routes, including boats, their right to protection will be denied. However, there are simply no other routes for people to take.
This Bill, by the admission of the Home Secretary, is likely to be in breach of the European Convention of Human Rights and 1951 Refugee Convention.
The Bill has been condemned across society – charities, faith leaders, local councils and even footballers have spoken out in opposition- and comes just a year after the oppressive “Nationality and Borders Act 2022” which significantly eroded the rights of migrants and refugees and paved the way for the horrific Rwanda Deportation Plan.
How many and who will this impact?
The Refugee Council estimates that in the first three years of this Bill coming into effect, over 250,000 people will be denied the right to have their asylum claim heard. This will leave an estimated 190,000 people languishing in immigration detention centres, including 45,000 children who could be locked up.
It’s clear that this Bill is designed to prolong the trauma that people have moved to escape. It will do nothing to offer the safe routes people deserve, and is likely to exacerbate tensions across many communities where far right groups are active.
Migrants Organise CEO, Zrinka Bralo says: “The government is only focused on enforcement and hostility and is unwilling to consider humane and legal solutions – to implement our obligation under the 1951 Geneva Convention, which was created to provide protection. I am alive today because I was given protection fleeing from the war in my country thirty years ago. If I needed that protection today, I would not survive.
The negative rhetoric of ‘invasion’ and criminalisation of people in need of protection is divisive and dangerous, as we have seen in recent far-right attacks on places where refugees are forced to stay.
The government is giving France half a billion pounds to build another prison for refugees instead of using that money to resolve hundreds of thousands of asylum claims of people whose lives have been on hold for years because of it. All refugees could be welcomed equally and allowed to rebuild their lives, and the British public has shown that they are ready and willing to welcome them. “
Politicians continue to weaponise migrants and refugees to distract from other crises, and in turn normalise divisive, extreme and oppressive policies which crack down on the fundamental rights and dignity we all deserve.
The expansion of the ‘hostile environment immigration policy’ has been profitable for many private companies benefiting from enforcement contracts and the exploitation of vulnerable people with no voice or legal representation.
This goes hand in hand with dehumanisation – using phrases such as ‘stop the boats’ takes the emphasis away from the people. It is the very people who need protection that will be stopped.
We will not look the other way while our communities are harmed.
By building communities of care and solidarity, we are growing our power to protect each other.
Together we can and will achieve a better future, one that is based on the values of dignity, justice and welcome.