The Illegal Migration Bill is of supreme importance to the lives and safety of the most persecuted people on the planet: we’re calling on the House of Commons to oppose it in full.

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As it stands this Bill is a ban on seeking safety in the UK for many refugees, strengthens the hand of human traffickers over their victims, and punishes children.

If the Bill does proceed, we urge parliamentarians to make crucial amendments to defend the most basic human rights and preserve the UK’s hard-won international standing.

We call on the House of Commons to support, among others, the following amendments:

  • Amendment 56, which protects the right of victims of modern slavery to be granted leave to remain under the Nationality and Borders Act 2022.
  • Amendment 181, which would delete the Bill’s provision granting power to the Home Secretary to remove unaccompanied children from the UK.
  • Amendments 62, 63, 66, and 67, which prevent children from losing the right to British citizenship and British overseas territory citizenship.
  • Amendments 51 and 52. Amendment 51 removes the Home Secretary’s powers of detention in the Bill and Amendment 52 removes the Home Secretary’s power to indefinitely detain refugees, children, and victims of modern slavery.
  • Amendments 44 and 45.  Amendment 44 would require the courts to interpret the Bill in accordance with the UK’s international human rights obligations and Amendment 45 would enable judges to interpret the Bill in accordance with human rights.

Sadly, the Government’s gargantuan set of amendments do not actually improve this Bill. They are sticking plasters which are not good enough.

The Illegal Migration Bill is fundamentally wrong. The Government concedes as much when it is unable to make the usual declaration that the Bill is compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Furthermore, the Government is adopting a poor approach to legislating. Even now at report stage, the Government has published more than one hundred amendments at late notice dealing with both substantive and highly technical issues.

The Bill applies to everyone who arrives in the UK without immigration leave as of 7 March 2023, making its effects truly draconian

The Government has still failed to publish a full impact assessment for the Bill, setting out its view of the real-world, human consequences of its own legislation. It shows a cavalier attitude towards both accountability and the refugees, victims of modern slavery, and children harmed by this Bill.

And while the Government claims that it is designed to deal with people arriving by small boats, the Bill applies to everyone who arrives in the UK, by whatever means, without immigration leave as of 7 March 2023, as well as to some family members who arrived before that, making its effects truly draconian.

How will the Bill effect real people?

This is how Faisal’s story would have been different had the Bill been in place when he and his family obtained safety in the UK.

Faisal’s family had lived in Kuwait for generations. But the Government refused to recognise his family’s citizenship and he was therefore unable to access basic services for his disabled daughter.

He, his wife and four children undertook a long and arduous journey through Iraq, Turkey and Greece. In the latter two countries, Faisal and his family were kept in detention camps, and for a while in Turkey, had to sleep on the streets.

Eventually, Faisal and his family found smugglers who were able to bring them to the UK. Faisal had so far been unable to access care for his disabled daughter, carrying her in his arms throughout their journey.

Under the Illegal Migration Bill, the Home Secretary will be obliged to remove Faisal and his family, including his disabled daughter

When arriving in the UK, Faisal’s daughter was finally able to access care and for the first time had her own wheelchair.

Under the Illegal Migration Bill, because of the way that Faisal arrived in the UK, the Home Secretary will be obliged to remove him and his family, including his disabled daughter.

Faisal will find it difficult to successfully challenge his and his family’s removal given that he has just over a week to do so and because the onus is on him to prove that they would suffer serious harm.

Faisal faces additional personal difficulties challenging his and his family’s removal. All this must be done while caring for a disabled daughter.

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