The outrageous and dystopian Illegal Migration Bill is at the House of Lords stage. If enacted, the damaging repercussions will be generational. That is why we are giving the Lords 10 reasons to #BinTheBill.

1. It abolishes the right to seek asylum. 

This Bill is incompatible with the Refugee Convention and will effectively abolish the right to seek to asylum in the UK. 

The UN’s refugee agency (the UNHCR) has warned that the UK pulling back from its responsibilities could lead to a “domino effect” leading towards a collapse of the entire system of international protection. People fleeing war, climate disaster, and atrocities, including people with ties and family in the UK, will not be able to claim asylum under this Bill. 

The government claims it wants to stop illegal entry, but the truth is the only way to keep people safe is to protect the right to make life saving journeys across borders and provide safe, accessible and legal routes to people seeking asylum. 

In the words of Warsan Shire, ‘No one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.’

2. Authoritarian, unlimited powers to detain

Under this Bill, there are no limits to who can be detained and removed from the UK, and it could lead to a potential 1000% increase in the number of people locked up under immigration powers across the UK. 

This includes children who are here alone, pregnant people, victims & survivors of slavery, trafficking, torture, and war, and people fleeing climate disasters. People will be detained no matter how vulnerable they are. 

It will give Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, the power to act with impunity.  Braverman wants to change the law to be able to detain people ‘wherever she sees fit.’ Some disturbing plans which have been reported include detaining people in internment camps, shipping containers, ships, camps, aircraft hangers, and disused military bases.

Detention causes irreparable harm to people, families and communities, and if this Bill is enacted, no challenges can be made if the Home Secretary acts irrationally or unreasonably. 

The totalitarian, dystopian future is here now.

3. All humans have Human Rights, right?

Laws in the UK require compatibility with the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights. However, this Bill has written into it an exception that the Human Rights Act does not apply.

This means people impacted by this Bill will not be able to challenge government decisions that may violate their Human Rights, creating a sub-class of people excluded from Human Rights protections.

This is an insidious and staggering blow to the idea of universal Human Rights. People that the government deem as deserving a safe route to asylum, for example Ukrainian refugees, will be entitled to support and Human Rights while people forced to arrive via irregular means will not be able to claim asylum, remain with families, work, or receive health care or benefits. 

Additionally, survivors of modern slavery and human trafficking will be unable to get support or protection from those exploiting and harming them. This Bill is a trafficker’s dream.  

Human Rights are meant to apply to all humans. But the Government wants to make the UK a country where Human Rights apply to some people and not to others.

4. It will be racialised

The Illegal Migration Bill, like the Nationality & Borders Act, is part and parcel to the Hostile Environment policy. This is an official government policy, implemented since 2012, which aims to make life, literally, unbearable for people seeking asylum. 

In their own Equality Impact Assessment, the Home Office admits that their measures disproportionally impact Black people and people of colour. 

Immigration law is already excluded from equality legislation, and decades of racist rhetoric and policy is likely to result in a racialised enforcement of the Bill, for people with and without British citizenship. The Windrush scandal, with its devasting outcome for Black communities, has exposed the shaky hands of government decision-making. 

All people deserve safety. Schemes like the one which supported Ukrainian refugees were rightly introduced, however when asked about asylum seekers from Sudan, Braverman responded that it was a different situation. We wonder why… 

5. It creates a generational subclass.

It gets worse. If this Bill is enacted, not only will people who arrive to the UK never have the right to asylum, citizenship or protection from traffickers:  their children even if born and/or raised in the UK, will also never have those rights. Children, may also be subject to detention & removal with their families.

In addition, if a child arrives in the UK alone, they will be subject to detention and removal once they turn 18. This is cruel and the generational harm is unprecedented.

6. It is Delusional Posturing

The Bill is a delusional posturing exercise by those who seek political gain by exploiting the most vulnerable members of our society.

It fundamentally misunderstands how and why people claim asylum and evidence overwhelmingly suggests it will fail on its own terms.

Timing the bill to coincide with the local elections, suggests a wider political game to distract, deceive and divide, rather than address actual crises such as the cost of living.

This Bill will make the scandals of recent years, such as the holding of people in unsanitary conditions at Manston IRC, lawful and commonplace while removing the legal channels we have used to hold the government account. 

7. Excludes refugee children from safeguarding 

Yes, you read that correctly. This Bill will carve out a group of children considered less worthy of protection than other children and will put the Home Secretary - who recently lost 200 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children - in charge of their wellbeing. 

The Bill allows for the indefinite detention of children and for their forced removal from the UK back to dangerous situations. 

This Bill disregards the fundamental human rights of child refugees, dispossessing them of appropriate healthcare, education, and protection from trafficking and exploitation. 

It undermines the integrity of our society and of policymakers who would never impose such cruelty on their own children.

8. Removing Access to Justice

This Bill empowers the Home Office at the expense of people facing detention and deportation.  It removes the right to apply for bail for the first 28 days of detention, regardless of whether the decision to detain is lawful or justified.  

It also limits appeal rights, making it almost impossible for people to legally challenge Home Office decisions. 

This is a blatant attempt to speed up deportation and reduce compensation payments by removing safeguards and processes that protect people from unlawful decisions. 

The Bill prevents the courts from assessing if the Secretary of State is acting lawfully or even rationally when she decides to detain a person. It removes judicial oversight and instead gives the Home Office the power to work without having to answer to the courts, leaving the irrational decision-making of the Home Office and their numerous procedural failings unchallenged. 

9. Detention industrial complex 

Despite being the only country in Europe without a time limit on detention, the UK has one of the largest immigration detention complexes in the region. 

Contractors such as Serco, Mitie and G4S make millions in profit from indefinitely locking people up. While people detained work for £1 an hour, saving companies an estimated £3,000,000 a year in maintenance costs

Despite fraud investigations and scandal after scandal where staff at detention centres have abused those in their care, the contractors continue to pass due diligence tests and win contracts. It is these private companies and their shareholders, including generous Conservative party donors, that stand to benefit from the 1000% increase in detention that could result from this Bill.

Facilities will need to be built and filled with people, a process which will traumatise thousands, devour much-needed public funds and reproduce centuries of colonial and racial injustice.  

Instead of focusing on the cost of living, the housing crisis and the NHS, the government is planning to open detention centres in Campsfield and Haslar, costing the taxpayer £399 million.

10. There is another way 

The UK has a moral obligation to provide sanctuary for those who are forced to flee their homes and seek refuge. It is imperative that those seeking asylum are given the opportunity to heal and rebuild their lives with their family and community. 

People migrate for diverse reasons, some of which are due to historical injustices and legacies of colonialism caused by the UK which are yet to be redressed. 

Instead of pursuing division and hatred, we can create a society that reflects the fundamental values of human rights, dignity and compassion where everyone has safe and quality health care, housing and education and can live free and full lives. 

Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) is a registered Charity No. 1077187. Registered in England as a Limited Company No. 03803669. Accredited by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner Ref. No. N200100147. We are a member of the Fundraising Regulator, committed to best practice in fundraising and follow the standards for fundraising as set out in the Code of Fundraising Practice.
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