‘THIS is the most draconian anti-refugee legalisation yet, as Rishi Sunak bids to make the UK off-limits to any refugees other than those his government hand-picks,’ Care4Calais declared yesterday.
The volunteer-run refugee charity denounced Tory Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s Illegal Immigration Bill which she put before Parliament yesterday afternoon.
The Tories are planning for it to be passed into law by September.
Under the new laws, people arriving ‘illegally’ will:
- Have their asylum claims made automatically ‘inadmissible’;
- Be subject to mass detention;
- Be removed to a third country as soon as practicable;
- Be permanently banned from returning to the UK;
- Be unable to use family rights laws to stop deportation.
Condemning the legislation in the House of Commons yesterday afternoon, Sarah Sultana, Labour MP for Coventry South, said: ‘When the poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer, when wages are falling and people are struggling, the powerful say the problem isn’t really the bosses or government cuts, the problem they say, is migrants and refugees.
‘So how many refugees will the Home Secretary lock up before she accepts that we need a compassionate approach, not this callous and cruel policy.’
Green MP Caroline Lucas said it is ‘Orwellian, as well as morally repugnant’ to ban people from claiming asylum unless they use a legal route when these ‘barely exist’ or ‘they don’t function’.
Labour’s Khalid Mahmood, MP for Birmingham Perry Barr accused Braverman of trying to appeal to voters ‘at the the expense of xenophobia and racism’.
Labour MP Diane Abbott, former Shadow Home Secretary, said: ‘As the child of migrants myself I deplore the Home Secretary seeking to smear migrants as criminals and rapists.’
Stuart McDonald from the Scottish National Party said the bill will cause ‘serious harm’ to those who have already suffered, and that the SNP will oppose it ‘every step of the way’.
Care4Calais said: ‘On Sunday trade union leaders sent an inspiring message of solidarity to refugees. If Rishi Sunak’s government showed half as much leadership, promoting tolerance, instead of fear and division, our country could look to the future with confidence and certainty, instead of name-calling and fighting among ourselves.
‘Sunak is hoping to implement the new legislation by September. It is likely that the new laws will apply to all arrivals via Calais and not just small boats. It seems a crude, cruel and impractical plan that will cause untold suffering and pain with little improvement. Such a prospect, however, has never stopped them before.’
• See editorial