As the Illegal Migration Bill – better described as the Refugee Ban – faces scrutiny from the Lords today, the Home Secretary and Justice Secretary have taken to one of their pet papers to spread yet more misinformation. Daniel Sohege examines extracts from their specious justification and debunks each. [Note captions – Braverman/Chalk article or B/C article]
First things first. Asylum and refugees are only mentioned once in the Conservative 2019 Manifesto. As opposed to being a manifesto commitment, the Refugee Ban Bill would directly contravene the only one they made.
The Home and Justice Secretaries appear to be deliberately misleading people by conflating the immigration and asylum systems. None of this is exactly correct. Costs involved have been inflated by this government, not the number of people seeking asylum – which it is legal to do.
This government’s own figures show that the vast majority of those seeking asylum in the UK are recognised as needing it, and can only seek it via irregular routes because they have no other options.
Take, for example, refugees from Sudan. Already they form one of the largest groups seeking asylum in the UK because, as with many of the relatively small number of people who seek asylum here, because of historic ties. Yet no routes exist for them.
And, oh good. It didn’t take us long to get to the “young men” line. Funnily enough, being a young man doesn’t preclude you from also being a refugee. However, precluding young men from seeking asylum does risk meaning that women and children are also unable to do so.
Also, let’s quickly address this “safe country” line. Safety is subjective. You or I may feel safe in a country where someone who has lost everything and fled for their life may not. The Home Office’s own analysis recognises this.
By the way, that same analysis also shows that “deterrents” not only don’t work, but actually increase the risks of exploitation, thereby only benefitting gangs. They don’t remove the reasons people come to the UK seeking safety; they just make them easier to prey on.
Granted, how a question is framed does make an impact on public opinion, but overall, and consistently, the British public actually supports providing asylum, something which the Refugee Ban Bill essentially ends in the UK.
This, in particular, is, to put it politely, grossly disingenuous. Rather than meeting obligations to separated children, this bill will roll back protections, allowing for their detention and putting them at risk of even greater exploitation:
This is a rather short paragraph with which to gloss over the not insignificant matter of how the bill would massively contravene quite a number of the UK’s legal obligations, under domestic and international law, including the Refugee Convention:
Setting aside the many, many, issues of sending people to a de-facto dictatorship which this government’s own officials have warned is unsafe, this is a fiction. The Rwanda policy specifically prohibits asylum applications made remotely, and would prevent other legal claims.
Another fiction. We’ve already seen, as with routes for Afghans, how limited existing options are. This bill does not bring in additional routes. Instead it kicks them down the road until it is already in force and too late for anyone to do anything:
There is nothing “humane” or “fair” about this bill. It is an illegal, inhumane act of performative cruelty, which this government’s own previous analysis shows will only increase exploitation. I would also urge the House of Lords to look at it closely, and scrap it.