Update: Amendments defeated, but the Bill goes back to the Lords. There is still hope. Keep up the pressure.
The Immigration Bill comes back to the House of Commons from the House of Lords this afternoon, Monday 19 October. The Lords’ amendments include an important safety measure for the three million-plus EU citizens living in the UK, requiring the government to provide physical proof of their settled status.
You can help their cause by emailing your MP today. Ask you MP to vote FOR the amendment.
The following is a quote from The 3 Million, the main campaign giving a voice to people caught in the Brexit crossfire, through no fault of their own, and treated abysmally by this government:
Imagine it’s 2021 and you urgently need a job, or are looking for a place to live, and as part of the process you need to prove you have the right to live in the UK.
But your passport is no longer enough after the UK has left the EU, and you have no biometric residence card as proof – just a code to enter into the Home Office database.
Just as the landlord or employer logs on to check your ID, the system crashes, and you are passed over for someone else whose proof is easier to check…
We invite you to join the3million’s #DeniedMyBackup campaign to get your voice heard on the EU citizens’ No.1 issue
From Professor Tanja Bueltman:
The Immigration Bill is back in the Commons today, incl a cross-party amendment that would give EU citizens a physical proof of status. I call on MPs to get this right: use your vote to support the amendments; support your EU citizen constituents and all affected by the system.
So why is physical proof of status so vital? Isn’t everything going digital these days? Well, yes. But there usually is a backup whereas for settled status the Govt wants to implement a digital-only system overnight. Does it look like it’ll be straightforward to you?
What about cases like Magda’s for the right to rent check? We know that discrimination is already happening.
Entering the UK from abroad, airlines often ask about the right to enter. How is that going to work? Again we already know of issues even now where EU citizens were not allowed fo board their flight.
Server outages are a major concern. They are already happenig now even though the system is rarely used. This does not bode well for the impact millions needing to use it will have.
And we need to be especially concerned about vulnerable and older EU citizens. Will they be able to navigate a digital-only system that requires modern technology? What if the technology changes? Going digital-only without backup really is a catastrophe in the making.
And that’s true not only because of EU citizens, but also everyone who needs to use the system to carry out checks, including employers. Are they prepared for the impact this will have on their resources? The system requires many more steps than checking a paper copy.
For landlords too a digital-only system for EU citizens will make processes more complex.
I know what the majority in Parliament is. But I implore MPs to do the right thing. There has been unity on citizens’ rights before. And remember this: nobody is opposed to going digital, but let’s do it the right way and have a backup in place for this major shift.
EU citizens are your constituents too and you have a duty to represent their interests. Nobody is served by making them guinea pigs for a digital-only system—least of all during a time when so many other systems are changing too. Let’s have a safety net. It’s better for all. /end
Cornwall-based Jane Stevenson is the founder of the Yellow Rose campaign. She explains her reasons for standing up for the rights of EU and UK citizens whose lives have been turned upside down by Brexit.
Standing in the rain, outside the Home Office with a loud speaker was not something I ever expected to do when I started the Yellow Rose initiative. However, I had to speak up because I am ashamed and angry at how 5 million people and their families have been treated since the Brexit referendum. The Yellow Rose initiative is a rallying cry to British in Britain to stand in solidarity and friendship with EU citizens in the UK and British in the EU. That friendship is needed now more than ever. Here is my speech from the Rally for Our Rights, held on 12 October last year:
About a year ago in Penzance, I listened to French-born Emmanuelle Brook speak her In Limbo testimony to a room of 200 people. Her quiet, emotional account was a wake-up call and stirred a deep sense of loss in me. A few days later, fuelled by utter shame, anger and grief as Theresa May described people like Emmanuelle as queue-jumpers, I knew I had to do something, however small.
I simply sent a card to another EU citizen (who I know) and I had a thought. What if everyone who felt the same as me sent messages of friendship. What if hundreds, thousands, millions of messages are sent out? This is my hope.
The yellow rose is the chosen symbol for this initiative because the yellow rose is a symbol of friendship.
Part of being a friend is to listen and when necessary, amplify our friends’ voices in solidarity.
So, I say to our friends It’s not OK:
It’s not OK that your rights have been retrospectively dismantled;
It’s not OK that you have to apply to stay in your own homes, your own families, your own lives;
It’s not OK that millions of Brits in the EU still have so much uncertainty including whether or not they will even have health care.
Yellow Rose advocates, it’s not OK that these things are being done in our name. This is not in our name!
Many In Limbo testimonies speak of the devastating effect of the silence of friends.
The Yellow Rose initiative is not about persuading British in Britain to feel empathy, but to those who do it is a call out asking us to listen to our friends, make our compassion visible and to break the silence!
A message of support on a staff notice board, roses dropped off at a hotel with many EU workers, multiple random messages on Social media, holding a rose in a protest make a difference to individuals living under the cloud of political uncertainty and hostility.
In the midst of the Hostile Environment:
A message of friendship is a political act;
Collectively the messages are a powerful act;
Visible Kindness is an act of resistance!
You can read testimonies from EU citizens in the book produced by the In Limbo Project