The Nationality and Borders Bill is the biggest roll back of refugee rights ever seen in this country. It’s all about punishment not protection.
It’s difficult to know where to begin, so here are just some of the devastating impacts it will have.
The way you arrived to the UK will now be held against you. As there are currently almost no authorised ways for people to travel to the UK to claim asylum, it will essentially criminalise the vast majority of people.
This is staggering on so many levels, not least that people fleeing from real and present danger do not have the luxury of waiting months or even years to be accepted onto a resettlement programme. Not that there are any…
Even if someone does get to the UK and is granted refugee status, this new Bill means they won’t be allowed to stay long term. So instead of being allowed to rebuild their lives, people will exist in an agonising limbo. Any real sense of safety will be taken from them.
Another crushing blow is the extension of detention. Rather than learning lessons from the appalling conditions and devastating impact of Napier barracks, this Bill will see more people trapped in these facilities, in some cases sending people overseas whilst their claims are processed.
And when the inevitable happens and someone loses their life whilst being detained, well this new Bill means border staff will be granted immunity from any prosecution. Yes it’s jaw dropping stuff.
And finally, rather than learning lessons from the Windrush scandals, this Bill will give the Home Secretary the power to strip a person of their citizenship – without telling them.
This is a wholesale attack on refugees’, migrants’ and British minorities’ rights.
We are devastated and furious on behalf of all the people whose lives will be destroyed because of this.
Our politicians want us to think there isn’t an alternative to hostility, that refugees must be met with disbelief and aggression. But that doesn’t reflect who we are as people.
Every day we see examples of humanity, compassion and love.
Kindness will win. The fight is not over.