The Illegal Migration Bill should be illegal itself.

4 mins read

On March 7, after it was announced that the new Illegal Migration Bill had been passed, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak took to Twitter to summarize the consequences of this new bill.

Sunak’s Tweet reads: “If you come to the UK illegally: You can’t claim asylum. You can’t benefit from our modern slavery protections. You can’t make spurious human rights claims. You can’t stay.”

The new consequences of arriving illegally to the UK include being detained for 28 days without access to bail or judicial review, being deported back to their own country or a country deemed as safe and never being able to claim asylum in the UK or enter the UK.

Sheona York, Clinic Solicitor at Kent Law Clinic, commented about the bill: “It is immoral because it blames and stigmatises migrants solely on the basis of how they arrived here, rather than on any claim arising from their personal circumstances.

“The Bill’s measures are hopelessly impracticable. But no bail and no judicial review means that none of these claims can even be made. These and other measures in the Bill are plainly illegal. It is evident also that passing this Bill will mean the end of any UK effort to assist victims of trafficking.” 

It seems like somehow Mr Sunak has forgotten that not that long ago his parents were the ones migrating to the UK in the 60s. But, of course, everything must look so much easier when you are standing at the peak of privilege.

Let’s not forget the UK’s PM is among the 222 wealthiest people in the UK. Moreover, the Tory leader is taking pride in a bill that chooses to directly breach the requirements set by The UN Refugee Convention as well as the ECHR.

By “stopping the boats” and decreasing illegal immigration, the UK intends to free up their capacity and only support those who they deem in need of asylum. However, the problem lies in the assumption that those seeking asylum have the means, the time, or a stable enough situation to wait for their migration paperwork to be ready.

By punishing those who risk their own lives in the search for a better one, we are only proving that our leaders aren’t any better than the ones attacking their countries.

The bill also intends to “crackdown on the opportunities to abuse modern slavery protections, by preventing people who come to the UK through illegal and dangerous journeys from misusing modern slavery safeguards to block their removal.”

Instead, this bill will not protect current victims or future ones of human trafficking, as if they are found to be illegal in the country they will be deported, thus making Modern Slavery Protection laws a privilege for those who can afford to migrate legally.

Why are we allowing ourselves to blame the victims?

Victims of wars, victims of regimes, and victims of human trafficking. This new bill represents the more privileged blocking out the catastrophes they don’t want to be aware of. The decision to pass the bill confirms how out of touch with reality our politicians really are.

Featured Image Credit: Stefan Rousseau

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