In the run-up to the House of Commons Committee Stage of the Illegal Migration Bill on Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 March, PLP warns MPs again of the harm the Bill will cause.

Read our full briefing

We urge MPs to oppose this Bill in its entirety.

Our briefing considers the experiences of three refugees who have obtained safety in the UK and highlights the dangers and risks they would have faced had this Bill been in place at the time.

In plans even the Government admits are “radical”, this Bill will:

  • ban refugees in need of protection
  • harm victims of modern slavery 
  • punish children 
  • lock up children, refugees, and victims of modern slavery with minimum safeguards 
  • create blatantly unfair appeals for children, refugees, and victims of modern slavery 
  • carry out a stealth attack on the Human Rights Act, and
  • let the Home Secretary make laws and not Parliament 

Meanwhile the Bill does nothing to address the problems on which it should be focused, namely the creation of safe legal routes and reducing the backlog of asylum claims with which the Home Office has failed adequately to engage.

Read our full briefing

Yasmin’s story

This is a true story. Yasmin is a refugee from Eritrea. In her home country, she is a human rights defender, covertly documenting testimonies of survivors of torture at the hands of the Eritrean Government. Yasmin was arrested by the Eritrean internal security forces. She was held in a windowless cell and was raped and tortured for five months. Against the odds, Yasmin’s father managed to secure her bail and arranged for her to be smuggled to the UK. Now, Yasmin has been granted asylum and she continues her work on advancing human rights in Eritrea.

Yasmin’s story would have ended very differently had she arrived with the Illegal Migration Bill in force. Given that she was smuggled to the UK, it is very likely that she passed through other safe countries.  But in practice she would not have been free to claim asylum in these places as she was under the control of her smuggler. Nevertheless, under this Bill, the Home Secretary will still be obliged to remove Yasmin, disregarding any claims she might make for protection.

Sadly, Yasmin would find it very difficult to successfully challenge her removal given that she would only have eight days to do so and because the onus would be on her to provide compelling evidence that she would suffer serious harm. Due to her rapid escape from Eritrea, she is unlikely to have brought evidence to that standard with her.

Yasmin would also struggle to obtain independent legal advice to challenge the Home Secretary’s attempts to remove her, given the small number of immigration and asylum providers in the UK. Worse, the Home Secretary would have the power to detain Yasmin indefinitely pending her removal. Given her horrific experiences as a victim of torture in prison, this will be a profound trauma for Yasmin.

For more on our concerns with the Bill read:

Our House of Commons second reading briefing

Senior Researcher Lee Marsons in Legal Action Magazine

If you want to get in touch about the Bill please contact Communications Director Luke Robins-Grace: 07808159200