On 6th July the Government published its Nationality and Borders Bill. While there are some positive commitments to assist the small number of refugees coming to the U.K. on official Resettlement programmes, the measures it contains would not only fail to protect asylum seekers in need of sanctuary, but also treat them as criminals.
Please watch this short video on what the new legislation really means for the future of refugees in Britain.
This new legislation is making refugees in Oxfordshire feel even more vulnerable. Do your part to show people seeking asylum that Oxfordshire is a welcoming community by taking part in our ORANGE HEART CAMPAIGN.
Will you take action against this anti-asylum Bill?
The new Bill will mean that thousands of men, woman and children, who would currently be accepted as refugees would no longer be given safety in the UK due to their method of arrival. Some could be criminalised and put in prison for up to four years.People seeking asylum whose claims are deemed ‘inadmissible’ will have to wait a period of time before their application can be processed, whilst the Government tries to remove them to so-called 'safe countries'. This could be up to six months, adding to the backlog of cases the Home Office already has.
The proposed legislation will lead to people being held in reception centres that could be offshore. This is likely to have a significant impact the mental health and well-being of already vulnerable individuals.
The Government insists it supports the expansion of safe routes to the UK. Unfortunately, nothing in this bill makes good on those claims.
Next week the Bill will be debated in Parliament for the first time during its Second Reading.
We need you to write to your MP today and ask them to speak out against this anti-asylum, anti- refugee Bill at this crucial moment.
Even if you have written before, please take action now and write ahead of Tuesday’s debate, so that MPs know that their constituents care. And if you can’t do it before the 19th, do still write. The legislation will take several months to go through Parliament.
With thanks to The Refugee Council, key points you may want to include in your letter to your MP:
When the Second Reading of the Nationality and Borders Bill takes place, it’s vital that MPs stand up for the principle of refugee protection for everyone seeking asylum in the UK.
The Government claims that its legislation will break up smuggling networks, but nothing in the proposals would actually stop people arriving in the UK. Instead, the bill punishes vulnerable people who are seeking our protection after fleeing war, persecution, and tyranny.At the very moment we should be giving people support and a fair hearing, the bill proposes that we criminalise them, or put them into the limbo of ‘temporary protection’, uncertain about their futures and unable to integrate.
These new plans will be costly and simply increase delays and inefficiency in the system, either as people wait longer before they are able to access the asylum system, or as they cruelly and needlessly pass through our courts and prisons system.
All people seeking protection should be allowed to make an asylum claim, no matter how they have arrived in the UK. Creating a two-tier system that grants lesser rights to those who arrive in the UK irregularly is a violation of the Refugee Convention and misunderstands why and how people flee oppression.
When vulnerable people are on our shores, we must receive them fairly and treat them decently. Proposals to house people seeking asylum in ‘accommodation centres’ undermines that approach, meaning people will be less able to access the support and legal advice they need, and will be less likely to have their claims heard through a fair process.
We need more safe and legal routes so that refugees can arrive in the UK without making dangerous journeys. In the immediate term, that should mean two things: first, a strong commitment to resettling 10,000 refugees each year, on an ongoing basis. Second, proposals to restrict refugee family reunion for certain groups must be scrapped. Refugee family reunion is a vital lifeline that brings separate families back together, and must continue.
If easier, you can download these key points in word format by clicking here.
Let us be clear: these proposals that will soon be debated amount to an anti-asylum, an anti- refugee bill. In that context, I hope you will take this opportunity to stand up for refugees, and for the future of the UK’s asylum system.