I expect you know about the Immigration Bill currently going through Parliament. If it becomes law, this Bill will make it a whole lot harder to welcome those seeking sanctuary, as Migrant Rights Network makes clear in this briefing.
The Bill goes before the House of Lords for its second reading on Tuesday 22nd December. Before then we need to throw as much weight as possible against it, so we are asking you to do two things:
Contact as many members of the House of Lords as you can (here’s how ), particularly those with an interest in immigration. Tell them why and how you think that the Bill should be amended or thrown out. Remember to be polite and to arm your selected Peer with arguments which you hope they will use effectively in the House:
We have prepared sample letters for you to use, but make sure you adapt them and please use your own words as far as possible. Personal letters are more much more effective than duplicate mailouts, and some Peers delete any emails that are identical to others they have received.
Immigration Bill moves to the Lords
The Immigration Bill will have its Second Reading in the House of Lords on Tuesday 22 December. This is an opportunity for Peers to discuss all aspects of the Bill before it goes on for detailed consideration in Committee in January next year. If you have contacts with any Peers please get in touch with them and raise concerns about the impact the Bill’s measures will have on asylum seekers. The full debate from Report and Third Reading in the Commons (1 December) can be read at:http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm151201/debtext/151201-0002.htm#15120141000002The Home Office has also published a supplementary memorandum on the Immigration Bill and the European Convention on Human Rights which covers issues previously not addressed including the new schedule on the availability of local authority support. This can be accessed, along with other Government documents, at:
Dear Lord xx ( or Lady xxx) ,
On December 22nd, an Immigration Bill will come before the House of Lords for its second reading. This Bill will undermine our ability to create a welcome for those seeking sanctuary.
It contains an unprecedented expansion of the powers of immigration officials to detain individuals, to seize property, and to otherwise interfere with everyday activities, often on the mere suspicion that someone involved is in the UK without authorisation.
While in the past the increasing harshness of enforcement measures has remained hidden, taking place at the country’s borders or in isolated and targeted communities, these measures are almost certain to impact upon the lives of all of us. Powers that normally reside with the police and the courts because of the huge damage that can be done if they are directed towards the innocent, are to be handed over to a far wider group of immigration officials, and in some cases, to private individuals or organizations.
The Bill contains measures which will encourage discrimination against minorities whether British Citizens or migrants. It will encourage exploitation of migrant workers,by removing all safeguards and protections from them, and will help to create an
underclass of people removed from the protection of the law. This can only increase social ills, wage theft and abuse, and divide communities.
- The right to rent policy encourages discrimination against tenants who look or sound foreign, as shown by research on the Midlands pilot. See Guardian report of 6 August 2015
- The Bill removes asylum support from asylum seekers whose claims have been rejected. Unfortunately many of these families may be unable to leave the country for good reasons. These proposals will leave families and children homeless and with no means of support or ability to feed themselves or to earn money. It is completely unacceptable for any piece of legislation to act in a way as to make vulnerable children and their families destitute.
- The withdrawal of support from families aims ostensibly at saving money. In practice, it is likely simply to shift costs to Councils, who may feel obliged to take children into care, splitting families.
- Small businesses will be less able to deal with the additional burden of carrying out and recording frequent and complex immigration checks.
You can find more information and detailed briefings on the Bill via the web sites of the Migrant Rights Network, Immigration Law Practitioners’ Network , and Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants .
I am asking you to attend the debate, even if it means delaying the start of your Christmas break, and do all you can to mitigate the effects of this Bill by amendments or by voting it down.
I hope for your support and await your response with interest.
Wishing you a very happy Christmas
Download the letter here: 2015 Dec Immigration-Bill-sample-letter-to-Members-of-the-House-of-Lords