Over 70 people came to our January public meeting on the latest Immigration Bill. There was consensus that the real aims of the Bill were
- to create a hostile environment for people seeking asylum
- to appease and inflame racist stereotypes about people coming to the UK
- to create precedents for charging for basic services and using techniques of exclusion and repression that could potentially be extended to all of us
- to “turn people against people”
But there was plenty of opposition and discussion of ways to monitor the effects of the Bill and to refuse to implement it. You can read a summary of its main provisions below.
To get a better picture of what happened at the meeting see this Storify account. Thanks to all who contributed to the meeting and for spreading the news about it – in particular Fran from ASSIST and Marcia for the main photo.
The Immigration Bill is not yet law and is still being discussed in the House of Lords. You can track its progress here.
A new year, a new Immigration Bill, a new attempt to stir up a “hostile environment” for undocumented migrants in the UK. According to Sheffield MP Paul Blomfield:
- A new offence of “Illegal Working” carrying huge penalties for undocumented workers
- Making landlords responsible for checking immigration status of prospective tenants
- Creating a new offence: driving a vehicle while not legally resident
- Making banks responsible for policing accounts of undocumented migrants
- Extending the “deport first, appeal later” policy
- Restrictions on asylum support for those with initially rejected asylum claims
The results (aims?) of the Immigration Bill if it becomes law are likely to mean:
- Increased exploitation of undocumented workers as they are driven “underground”
- Discrimination and racism against prospective tenants who look or sound “foreign”
- More police stop and search actions targeted against ethnic minorities
- Excluding part of society from access to banking and related services
- Deporting people to persecution in their country of origin, denying appeal rights
- Using destitution as a weapon against undocumented migrants and their children
What can we do?
- Open Democracy’s collection of articles here
- “A very grey cloud with faint silver linings”, analysis of the Bill by Right to Remain
- Migrants Rights Network summary
- Immigration Bill timetable and Government version of events here
- Briefing and links from Regional Asylum Activism project here