Nationality & Borders Bill
There is still time to write to our MP Cherilyn Macrory if you are concerned about the terms of this bill which among other things will effectively criminalise asylum seekers who arrive via “illegal” routes. The Government has not yet put in place any legal routes or given any indication of when that might happen or what they might be.
A number of organisations have circulated template letters you can send to your MP, including the Jesuit Refugee Centre. The letter below is based on that version.
“I am writing to you today regarding the Nationality & Borders Bill, which is currently in the House of Lords.
As my MP, I hope that when the Bill returns to the House of Commons, you will support changes to the bill to make it fairer and more compassionate towards those seeking sanctuary in the UK.
As it stands, the bill seems to represent an unashamedly hostile approach to the treatment of refugees and asylum-seekers, which nonetheless will do little to deter dangerous travel to the UK by those who are already vulnerable and instead put them more at risk.
In particular, I ask that you support amendments which:
- End the two-tier system – the differentiated approach towards refugees and asylum seekers, discriminates against asylum seekers who reached the UK via irregular routes. This is cruel and unfair to those who are already vulnerable.
- Support the implementation of safe and accessible routes to the UK – these are not currently in place and the government have given no indication as to what they will look like. They need broad acceptance criteria in order to be accessible. Clear targets and deadlines need to be established.
- Support family reunion – the UK’s limited options for family reunion for those seeking asylum. This is a fundamentally un-Christian policy (not to say inhumane) and provision should be established for family reunion.
- End offshore detention – There is a lot of evidence of how damaging isolated reception centres can be for the health and wellbeing of asylum seekers. Changes should be made to the bill to replace such reception centres and support a community based model.
- End criminalization of asylum seekers who come via irregular routes – This is a hostile and uncompassionate way of treating people who have often had no other options to seek safety when fleeing persecution; it goes counter to what are essentially British and Christian values .
I hope that you will choose to support these changes, and will advocate for a fair and compassionate asylum system in the UK.