The government calls it “The Illegal Migration Bill”. But it should be simply shortened to “The ILLEGAL Bill”.
Why? Well, first let’s understand what this bill is for and what it does.
The bill was announced on 7 March 2023 without any public consultation. It aims to deter small boat crossings of asylum seekers attempting to reach the UK across the English Channel.
How? The illegal bill proposes to:
remove those who enter the UK via “unauthorised routes” to their home country, or a so-called “safe” third country, such as Rwanda
block their access to the UK’s modern slavery protections
disregard in most cases asylum or human rights claims made by asylum seekers
widen the powers of detention for the purposes of removal, including detention of children
The Law Society, which represents solicitors, commented:
“We are concerned that the bill may be incompatible with our international obligations under the European Court of Human Rights and the UN Refugee Convention.
“Breaching our international obligations undermines the rule of law.”
The Society added:
“Tens of thousands of people could be detained indefinitely, at extensive cost to the UK taxpayer, as no ‘safe’ third country (beyond Rwanda) is available.
“This could all have significant implications for our reputation as a reliable nation that upholds its international responsibilities, which has long underpinned our position as an attractive hub for global investment and as a bastion of the rule of law.”https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/…/illegal-migration-bill
Commented Amnesty International:
“The UK Government’s latest immigration bill not only threatens to dismantle our asylum system, but also carries alarming implications for families, children, citizenship and human rights.”
The human rights group added,
“The bill means that neither asylum nor human rights claims will be considered by the Home Office, and victims of human trafficking or modern slavery will not receive protection.”https://www.amnesty.org.uk/…/campaigns…/immigration-bill
The Refugee Council describes the proposed law an “inhumane and unworkable plan for the asylum system.”
The charity claims that:
Over 190,000 people could be locked up or forced into destitution under the government’s plan
As many as 45,000 children could be locked up after having their asylum claims deemed inadmissible
Around £9 billion will be spent on locking up refugees in detention centres and accommodating people who can’t be removed to other countries.
Commented the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants:
“The so-called ‘Illegal Migration Bill’ is an extraordinarily dangerous piece of legislation which flies in the face of international human rights law and will have a devastating impact on people seeking safety in the UK.”https://www.jcwi.org.uk/illegal-migration-bill-2023-briefing
Commented Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of UNICEF UK:
“The UK Committee for UNICEF is deeply concerned about the proposed Illegal Migration Bill and what it could mean for children and families seeking safety in the UK.
“For almost all children fleeing conflict and persecution there is no safe and legal route into the UK.
“This Bill puts children’s right to safety and protection under threat by denying children who arrive through irregular routes, such as on a boat across the English Channel, from making an asylum claim, and with that the chance to rebuild their lives with stability and certainty here in the UK.”https://www.unicef.org.uk/press-releases/the-uk-committee-for-unicef-unicef-uk-responds-to-uk-governments-proposed-illegal-migration-bill/
Liberty, the UK’s largest civil rights organisation, commented:
“The Bill is effectively a ban on asylum, extinguishing the right to seek refugee protection in the United Kingdom.
“It will put people seeking safety and a better life at risk of irreversible harm, with life and death consequences.
“This Bill attacks the very core of human rights, which is the fundamental belief that we all have human rights regardless of who we are or where we are from.
“Instead, it separates people into categories of ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ of human rights. In stripping the most basic rights from people seeking safety and a better life, the Bill dismantles human rights protections for all of us.”
This will not be the first time that recent Tory governments have proposed or done something unlawful.
Remember how Theresa May wanted to pass Brexit by bypassing Parliament? (Ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court).
Remember how Boris Johnson ordered Parliament to be closed-down (prorogued)? (Ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court).
Remember how government ministers lobbed lucrative PPE contracts to mates during the pandemic? (Ruled unlawful in the courts).
The Illegal Migration Bill is or should be illegal. When a government does illegal things, it means one thing: we have an illegal government.