Nationality and Borders Bill will make life harder for refugees, says Jesuit Refugee Service

The Nationality and Borders Bill is the cornerstone of the government’s New Plan for Immigration, delivering what the government claims is “the most comprehensive reform in decades to fix the broken asylum system”.

But Priti Patel’s controversial new borders bill breaches international and domestic law in at least 10 different ways, a report from a team of leading immigration lawyers has concluded.

Four barristers led by the human rights QC Raza Husain claim that the nationality and borders bill, which is moving through parliament, will lead to challenges under international human rights and refugee treaties.

The Bill will overhaul the UK’s asylum system but will make it more difficult to get asylum in the UK. The Bill would deny many refugees the chance to seek sanctuary here, criminalise many who try, and isolate refugees in harmful out-of-town institutions.

Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) and St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP) have produced a document highlighting 8 things you should know about the Bill and encouraging everyone to take action:

  1. How worthy of protection someone is will depend on how they were able to travel to the UK. This will deny sanctuary to the vast majority of refugees.
  2. It will expand the use of detention-like accommodation centres
  3. It will permit the use of offshore processing for protection
  4. It will tear families apart
  5. It makes asylum determination much harsher – even though it’s already harsh
  6. It does not commit to resettlement
  7. It does not create any safe routes to seek asylum
  8. It will make people seeking sanctuary more vulnerable to trafficking and modern slavery.

There are several ways you can take action

  • Contact your MP to express your concerns about the Nationality and Borders Bill and call for a just and person-centred asylum system. There’s some top-tips and a template letter on the next page, and there’s more information on the JRS UK and SVP websites
  • Share this guide with your friends and your family, and explain why it matters to help refugees and asylum seekers, and read the human stories behind the numbers.
  • Look at whether your community would be suited to Community Sponsorship. Stable accommodation is one of the biggest challenges facing refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.
  • Pray for refugees, asylum seekers and parliamentarians making life-altering decisions. JRS UK have a host of prayer resources to help.

Picture: (CNS photo/Mary Turner, Reuters)