Today this government made an announcement setting out changes to the asylum system. The starkest and most significant change is that anyone arriving by small boat will not be able to claim asylum. This is essentially a ban on the human right to seek asylum.
This will not work. Brutal plans like this one will not stop people trying to reach family, safety and the chance to rebuild. When someone has a reason to make this deadly crossing and they are provided with no other routes to safety, they will make the crossing.
This government’s own statistics show that the vast majority of the men, women and children who cross the Channel in order to claim asylum are later recognised as refugees. That means our own government recognises that they are fleeing war and persecution and deserve safety on these shores.
The only way to stop people risking their life making this perilous crossing is to provide safe routes. Aside from the Hong Kong and Ukraine schemes, right now there are almost no ways for someone to safely reach the UK. In fact, this month it was revealed that only twenty two people have been brought to safety since the launch of the Afghan Resettlement Scheme.
If the system functioned better, there would be no need for this government to scapegoat a small group of tired and scared people who are being forced to risk everything in the hope of finding sanctuary.
Rather than focusing on sensationalist and unworkable distractions, this government must tackle the 150,000 unprocessed asylum cases. This backlog means that instead of waiting a few months for a decision on an asylum claim, people often now have to wait years. If the system functioned better, there would be no need to house people in expensive, unsuitable, and in some cases outright dangerous, hotel accommodation.
This government wants us to think there is no alternative to hostility – but there is.
We need a system based on compassion and fairness – one that sees people seeking safety as human beings.
Feeling angry, heartbroken and overwhelmed by it all? Us too. But our passion is our power – and now it’s time to put it into action. Here’s how…
- Write to your MP.
Speak from the heart and tell them exactly why this cruel and unfair law doesn’t represent you. People fleeing war and persecution deserve protection not punishment. Ask them to represent you by standing up against this new law. Click here to find your MP’s contact details.
- Stand up and speak out.
Write to your local newspaper, go on local radio, speak out on social media, get your family, friends and colleagues speaking out too. This government says that we want this law – so we need to shout from the rooftops that WE DON’T.
We’re louder and stronger when we’re together. Join your local City of Sanctuary group today, volunteer, donate and campaign. Whatever resources you have – time, funds, space or even the opportunity to provide a break for people seeking sanctuary – we can signpost and connect you to the right groups. This is a movement of welcome and everyone’s needed.
- Have hope.
Look after yourself. Spend time with friends & allies. Remind yourself time & time again that love trumps hate. When we come together we can do incredible things. It’s on us to build a welcoming UK – so let’s get started
- Write to your MP.