immigration

Error message

  • Deprecated function: The each() function is deprecated. This message will be suppressed on further calls in _menu_load_objects() (line 579 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/menu.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Deprecated function: implode(): Passing glue string after array is deprecated. Swap the parameters in drupal_get_feeds() (line 394 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).

The Hostile Environment for Rough Sleepers is Costing Lives

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 19/01/2022 - 12:31am in

The Hostile Environment for Rough Sleepers is Costing Lives

In November 2020, Priti Patel made rough sleeping grounds for deportation. Samir Jeraj spent a year with the Museum of Homelessness as part of a project to push-back against the policy

ShareEmailTwitterFacebook

Like many migrants, Adam came to the UK to support his family – his wife, son and parents – who stayed behind in Poland. He had been working as a chef for three years when his world ended. His family, all of them, died in a car crash. Nine years on, Adam still lives with the trauma and depression from those tragic events – but that was just the start. 

“Within a few months of their deaths, I had lost everything,” he told Byline Times.

Adam’s job, money and flat evaporated in quick succession, and he started using drugs and staying on the street. “I spent my first nights on the street in Shoreditch,” he recalled. “It was absolutely horrible.”

The years after were a precarious mix of begging, eating discarded food, depression and drugs. Eventually, he was found sleeping in a bin shed by a cleaner and, when the police turned up, they said he could get help. A few days later, an outreach worker arrived with immigration enforcement officers instead.

“I remember them saying ‘we’ve got him’,” Adam said. 

The UK’s ‘hostile environment’ has targeted homeless people long before the term was coined by Theresa May in 2012. But, under the current Home Secretary, Priti Patel, the level and scope of hostility has increased exponentially.

This has led to a variety of responses, from Homeless Link’s ‘Support Not Deport’ campaign to more focused campaigning, such as Project Fortify – a year-long investigation of the hostile environment launched by the Museum of Homelessness.

Brexit has enabled the Government to pursue more extreme deportation policies, while the Coronavirus pandemic has provided political cover. Last year, Patel brought back the Rough Sleeper Support Service – part of the deportation regime that was found illegal in 2019, only for it to fall apart again as local councils and charities that had signed up quietly walked away from the scheme.


‘If Someone Told Meto Go Back and Live In Romania,I Would Really Struggle’
Hardeep Matharu

The hostile environment was also present in efforts to coerce people into so-called ‘voluntary reconnection’ and during the first six months of the pandemic 392 rough sleepers were sent back to EU states.

In the spring of 2021, a group of Roma were living by Warren Street station in central London, camped out under an overhanging building for shelter. In the run-up to the end of the EU Settlement Scheme, the group were moved on several times by police and enforcement officers and then approached by an outreach worker, according to the Public Interest Law Centre, Streets Kitchen and the Museum of Homelessness.

The Roma understood them to be offering ‘tickets home’ instead of support to apply for settled status – something they had a right to do. Several of the group felt that they had no choice but to accept the offer. The Home Office was unable to say how many people without a permanent address had applied for status under the EU Settlement Scheme or how many had been successful. 

Far-Right Weaponisation

The hostile environment is also feeding into violent action by the far-right.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the overlap between homelessness and immigration status has been underlined as street homeless people and asylum-seekers found themselves ‘housed’ in some of the same hotels.

At the same time, the Government has fed far-right hysteria with well-publicised action against people using boats to seek asylum in the UK. It was the hotels housing both homeless people and asylum seekers that were targeted by groups such as Britain First

The far-right has long used the idea that homeless white British people, and veterans in particular, are losing out to “immigrants”. The Home Office recorded at least 70 attacks on hotels believed to be housing asylum seekers, with more happening following the UK accepting Afghan refugees.

These included incidents where they mistakenly targeted hotels housing homeless people with immigration status (including British nationals). In July 2020, and again in February 2021, a hotel in Essex was attacked by the For Britain Movement and Patriotic Alternative. One of the intimidation tactics used by the groups was to film people living there.

Jane Williams, of the Magpie Project – an organisation that supports homeless mothers and young children in east London – told Byline Times: “The video was so distressing to watch because there were just these men filming really traumatised-looking people going in and out.” One of the families the project was supporting had to be moved “in an emergency” following the video being uploaded online. “It was really, really frightening for the family involved,” Williams said.

When the Home Office began to resettle asylum seekers outside of London under ‘Operation Oak’, it ignored warnings from local councils which believed that they would be at risk of far-right violence. 

“What we see is that the hostile environment is particularly hostile to vulnerable mothers and their children,” Williams told Byline Times.

Even inside the Migrant Help housing, accommodation – which people only live in if they have been accepted on to the legal route of claiming asylum – there are signs offering to send people back. 


Far-Right Echoes in WestminsterExtremist Pressure on MigrationAffects Government Policy
Paul Mason and Sian Norris

Williams has come across examples of where the women that the Magpie Project supports have complained about broken windows or infestations and been told by housing managers not to complain because “you shouldn’t be here”. In one case, an asylum-seeking family were told by police not to file complaints about assaults that have taken place within Migrant Help accommodation as it “could affect their immigration application”.

Last March, Haringey Council published the results of an investigation into the deaths of three homeless EU nationals in the London borough. In all three cases, immigration policy prevented them from accessing services that could have saved their lives and put them on a path to recovery.

In Scotland, the Scottish Refugee Council found that 95 people have died since 2016 in asylum seeker accommodation commissioned by the Home Office – a number that rose from four in 2019 to 36 in 2020, and is nearly double what the Home Office had claimed. 

As the UK prepares to pass the Nationality and Borders Bill, aimed at keeping people out of the UK, it is clear that without fundamental change the situation for rough sleepers and people in temporary housing will get worse. 

“My experience with the Home Office just pushed me away from ever wanting to deal with homeless services again,” Adam told Byline Times.

It would be another three years on the street before he would trust another outreach worker and, even when that happened, it was months before he believed that applying for a passport and settled status was not the first step to deportation. Now, he is actively working on his recovery with help and support from services and hopes to use his experiences to help other people like him. 

“Despite the progress I have made, I still have a nagging feeling that it could all fall apart,” he said. “My experience with the Home Office pushed my recovery back by four years, and kept me on the streets. I wasn’t able to trust the services that were best placed to help me, so my situation just got worse.” 

ShareEmailTwitterFacebook

SIGN-UP TO EMAIL UPDATES

OUR JOURNALISM RELIES ON YOU

Byline Times is funded by its subscribers. Receive our monthly print edition and help to support fearless, independent journalism.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PRINT EDITION OF BYLINE TIMES FROM AS LITTLE AS £3.50 A MONTH

BECOME A PATRON OF BYLINE TV

SUBSCRIBE TO BYLINE TIMES & GET THIS MONTH’S DIGITAL EDITION IMMEDIATELY

The post The Hostile Environment for Rough Sleepers is Costing Lives appeared first on Byline Times.

Trafficking Victims Will Face ‘Trauma Deadline’ as a Result of Nationality and Borders Bill

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 14/01/2022 - 9:00pm in

Trafficking Victims Will Face ‘Trauma Deadline’ Under Controversial Nationality and Borders Bill

Successive Home Secretaries have made ending modern slavery a priority – but new clauses in the Nationality and Borders Bill could make identifying victims harder, Sian Norris reports

ShareEmailTwitterFacebook

Survivors of modern slavery will be penalised for not sharing details of their exploitation “fast enough” campaigners warn, if clauses in part 5 of the Nationality and Borders Bill become law. 

The bill “will require many foreign national victims of trafficking to self-identify and communicate that they are a victim of slavery within a fixed time period, with a failure to do so or late declaration seen as damaging the individual’s credibility”. 

Campaigners have warned that the clause ignores the impact of trauma on victims and survivors. Rather than a delay to disclosing details meaning a survivor is not credible, it could instead demonstrate how survivors of extreme abuse and exploitation often demonstrate delayed memory recall and memory loss due to trauma. 

Survivors may also feel unsafe to disclose details of exploitation if they have been threatened by their traffickers.

“Many of the survivors we talk to tell us that it can take years to process and make sense of an experience as traumatic as trafficking,” director of the campaigning group After Exploitation Maya Esslemont told Byline Times. “It is not acceptable to shame and penalise victims of a serious crime for not disclosing abuse within a ‘convenient’ timeline. Cases must be decided on their merit, not convenience.”

The Home Office confirmed that referrals will be appropriately considered regardless of when they are brought to make sure that those who need protection are afforded it. Any individual who has good reasons why the information was provided late, such as the effects of trauma, will not be subject to damaged credibility.

FEARLESS, INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM
& INCREDIBLE VALUE

Receive the monthly Byline Times newspaper and support quality, investigative reporting.

SUBSCRIBE TO BYLINE TIMES FOR AS LITTLE AS £3.50 A MONTH

Speaking at the first sitting of the Public Bill Committee on the proposed law, Assistant Chief Constable of Derbyshire Police, Dave Kirby, explained how some survivors are “under a huge amount of duress, including their families being threatened”. He added how people are told by their traffickers “not to claim that they are a victim… if they then at some point change their minds for whatever reason, I think that needs to be allowed and not counted against them”.

The bill also threatens to make it harder for victims convicted of criminal activity to access support, even when that criminality formed part of their exploitation. The clause which identifies potential victims who should be “disqualified from protection” means anyone serving a prison sentence of 12 months or more could now be denied support. 

“Given that 49% of all trafficking cases involve criminal exploitation,” Esslemont told Byline Times, “we will see huge numbers of survivors at risk of refusal because of criminalised activity they were forced into by abusers.”

More than 3,500 adults and children identified as potential victims of modern slavery were referred for criminal exploitation in 2020, while a further 1,590 were referred for criminal and labour exploitation. 

Victims of trafficking can raise a section 45 defence in criminal proceedings, on the basis that a crime was committed as a result of coercion. However, survivors of criminal exploitation are routinely missed by the authorities until a significant time after a sentence is served. The Home Office confirmed that all decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Conservative MP and former Prime Minister Theresa May made modern slavery her “personal priority” as Home Secretary, calling it an “abhorrent crime” that is “shameful and shocking”. Her successor Priti Patel has said that the UK Government “will not stop until slavery is consigned to the dustbin of history”.

However, concerns continue to be raised that, rather than support vulnerable victims, the Nationality and Borders Bill risks making, according Thornton, “the identification of modern slavery victims harder”.

“The Government is moving the goalposts to roll back support for survivors of modern slavery,” said Esslemont. “If part 5 passes, fewer trafficked people would be able to access help, justice, or even protection from deportation.”

Misuse of the System?

The Home Office has justified its plans by claiming that there has been an “alarming rise in people abusing our modern slavery system by posing as victims in order to prevent their removal and enable them stay in the country”.

The new plans, it wrote in May 2021, would mean “child rapists, people who pose a threat to our national security, serious criminals and failed asylum seekers will find it harder to take advantage of modern slavery safeguards”.

Part 5 of the Nationality and Borders Bill seeks to make the threshold for success in a trafficking claim tougher. Assistance and support will only become available when a decision-maker has reasonable grounds to believe the individual “is” rather than “may be” a victim of slavery or trafficking.

“Survivors would be asked to provide more evidence, sooner in their case, before they have even had access to a translator, lawyer, or material needs such as safe housing,” Maya Esslemont told Byline Times. “It is cruel to introduce a greater level of scrutiny for survivors before they have had a chance to put together a confident case or recover from the crime committed against them. The change would increase the risk of rejection earlier on.”

Frontline charities have highlighted that no public data has been released to verify claims that the system is being abused by “vexatious” claims such as those cited above.


‘Home Office Wants to MakeIt Harder for Modern Slavery Victims to be Recognised’
Sian Norris

The West Midlands Anti Slavery Network (WMASI) – a coalition of agencies tackling modern slavery at both a regional and national level – consulted two of its members on their experiences of potential ‘abuse’ of the trafficking system. Both the Adavu Project and Jericho had supported a combined 285 survivors of slavery over a 10-year period and all of their clients were genuine victims of modern slavery and human trafficking.

According to 2020 data, 89% of survivors who claimed they had been trafficked had a positive outcome. 

The Government has further justified its proposals by claiming that rising numbers of trafficking referrals show that the system is being abused by opportunistic claims. However, After Exploitation argues that “a rise in reported slavery cases should be applauded as indicative of growing awareness amongst front-line practitioners, not of abuse in the system”.

The Centre for Social Justice estimates that there are 100,000 people currently living in settings of exploitation – a figure disputed by the Home Office which identified more than 10,000 potential victims of modern slavery last year.

The Home Office told Byline Times measures in the bill include granting victims temporary leave to remain in the UK so they can recover from their ordeal and help the authorities with criminal prosecutions. It introduces a new and expanded ‘one-stop’ process to ensure that asylum, human rights claims, and any other protection matters are considered at the earliest opportunity, which will be supported by an enhanced legal aid offer. 

It will also reduce the risk of our generous safeguards being misused, ensuring that valuable resources go towards genuine victims, while non-legislative measures will offer other forms of support to modern slavery victims.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The Government is committed to tackling the heinous crime of modern slavery; ensuring that victims are provided with the support they need to begin rebuilding their lives and that those responsible are prosecuted. Anyone who is referred as a possible victim of modern slavery will have their case properly considered, regardless of when the referral is brought.

“The Nationality and Borders Bill will go further in putting victims’ rights into law, ensuring they have support tailored to their personal needs to support their recovery. It is vital our broken immigration system is fixed, and our New Plan for Immigration will ensure we can stop the criminal practices of those who abuse it.”

ShareEmailTwitterFacebook

SIGN-UP TO EMAIL UPDATES

OUR JOURNALISM RELIES ON YOU

Byline Times is funded by its subscribers. Receive our monthly print edition and help to support fearless, independent journalism.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PRINT EDITION OF BYLINE TIMES FROM AS LITTLE AS £3.50 A MONTH

BECOME A PATRON OF BYLINE TV

SUBSCRIBE TO BYLINE TIMES & GET THIS MONTH’S DIGITAL EDITION IMMEDIATELY

The post Trafficking Victims Will Face ‘Trauma Deadline’ as a Result of Nationality and Borders Bill appeared first on Byline Times.

Catch-22? Why the Nationality and Borders Bill Risks Failing on its Stated Aims

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 11/01/2022 - 10:30pm in

Catch-22? How the Nationality and Borders Bill Risks Failing on its Stated Aims

The Government’s New Plan for Immigration, as set out in the Nationality and Borders Bill, wants to deter people from making Channel crossings and support women and children – but will it do so?

ShareEmailTwitterFacebook

The controversial Nationality and Borders Bill is currently being debated by the Lords having passed through the House of Commons by 298 votes (230 MPs voted against the Bill).

It was discussed in the Lords in the same week that it was revealed that people arriving in the UK via small boats across the Channel had reached record levels, with 28,431 people attempting the dangerous journey. In November, 31 people died in the Channel after their dinghy overturned.  

The Home Secretary has spoken about wanting to make Channel crossings an “unviable” route into the UK, arguing that deterrents such as the tiered system will prevent people making dangerous journeys and “break the business model” of people trafficking gangs who profit from smuggling people across the Channel and into the UK.

Priti Patel has also claimed that the Government’s New Plan for Immigration would do more to protect vulnerable women and children – citing how the majority of people crossing the Channel are adolescent and adult men. 

However, experts, NGOs and even the Home Office’s own equality impact assessment into the policy has cast doubt on how effective the Nationality and Border Bill and the New Plan for Immigration will be in achieving these stated goals. 

Catch-22

Central to the New Plan for Immigration is the aim of stopping people from making dangerous journeys across the Channel, before claiming asylum once they have arrived in the UK. 

To achieve this, the Home Office has written new policies into the bill designed to deter people from attempting to enter the UK in this way. Those people who arrive in the UK via a so-called “illegal” route may only be offered temporary immigration status with restricted rights to family reunification and limited financial support. 

But, even a brief glance into the history of deterrent policies when it comes to irregular routes into the UK shows that the thinking behind the policy may be flawed. 

Dr Peter Walsh of the Migration Observatory has been monitoring Channel crossings. He told Byline Times that there has been a shift away from people arriving into the UK by smuggling onto lorries and towards making the dangerous boat crossings. This is in part, he said, due to the policies that made lorry crossing unviable. 

In order to clampdown on lorry crossings, both the French and UK Governments have put in multiple security measures on the border. Now, lorry crossings are less common – but the number of small boat crossings has dramatically increased from around 300 in 2018 to nearly 30,000 in 2021.

“An important part of the story of the rise of the small boats route is that, because the lorry route has become increasingly unviable, people seeking asylum who are often quite desperate have been willing to pay those who can innovate other methods, and that small boat route has become entrenched as the principle method,” Dr Walsh said.  

“Attempts to increase enforcement have actually diverted the problem elsewhere. And it has compelled people to take a route that arguably is more dangerous than the one that was previously in the ascendant.” 

Lorry crossings are, of course, dangerous too – as evidenced by the horrific deaths of 39 Vietnamese people in 2019.


‘History Will Judge this ShabbyGovernment’s Weaponisation of Refugee Lives’ Says Lord Alf Dubs
Hardeep Matharu

The concern that a policy of deterrence risks pushing people people towards more dangerous routes is reflected in the Home Office’s own equality impact assessment of its New Plan for Immigration. The assessment admits that the decision to “increase security and deterrence” could encourage people to “attempt riskier means of entering the UK”.

“The two-tier system aims to deter small boat arrivals,” Dr Walsh told Byline Times. “There’s not much evidence that policies like that are effective in deterring irregular entry because, when we speak to asylum seekers, the decision to choose to come to the UK is not strongly motivated by a knowledge of policy.”

Instead, when a person decides to leave their home country and seek asylum, greater pull factors are a shared language and family already living in the country that they hope to travel to. For this reason, people seeking asylum in the UK are more likely to have English as a first or second language and to have family or community already settled here. 

History also plays its role. Britain’s imperial past means that there are stronger connections with Commonwealth or formerly colonised countries. Similarly, those fleeing persecution, war and conflict in former Francophone countries are more likely to see asylum in France. 

There’s a perception too, Dr Walsh said, “that the UK is tolerant, democratic and safer”.

Women and Children First?

In her speech introducing the New Plan for Immigration, Priti Patel raised the issues that the majority of people arriving via Channel crossings are young adult men, asking: “Where are the vulnerable women and children that this system should exist to protect?”

However, the proposal to create a tiered asylum system which restricts rights on family reunification should a person enter via an irregular route could lead to fewer women and children being granted asylum in the UK. Indeed, up to 60% of women and children currently accepted as refugees face being turned away under the new policy. 

Currently, young men are more likely to make the risky journey to the UK and claim asylum, before their family joins them via the family reunification policy. If the latter is restricted when a man arrives in the UK on a small boat, women and children will be left behind. 

“It’s quite common for men to make these risky journeys,” Dr Walsh told Byline Times. “So if you look at asylum claims more broadly, a big majority come from that demographic. Once you take family reunification into account, the gender balance is closer to 50:50.

“The bill is saying the majority of people who come here are young men, and we’re going to prevent them from availing themselves of family reunion, which will have the effect of skewing considerably further towards men in the breakdown of those who are given protection in the UK.”   


‘A Deeply Dangerous Power Grabby the Home Secretary’Says Baroness Sayeeda Warsi
Hardeep Matharu

Experts in children’s welfare and immigration have also expressed concern that plans in the bill to use “scientific methods” to assess the ages of people seeking asylum will cause harm to children and fail to provide them with the support they need. Suggested methods include x-rays, MRI and CT. 

“We know through working with unaccompanied young people that age disputes are a deeply stressful experience, only adding to the trauma they have already gone through in having to flee their home country and on their harrowing journey to safety,” Marieke Widmann, policy and practice advisor at The Children’s Society, told Byline Times.

The British Association for Social Workers agreed, with a spokesperson saying: “A young person in such circumstances may have severe negative experiences when it comes to doctors, they may have experienced physical or sexual assault, or simply do not understand what is being done to them.”

Both organisations shared concerns about the evidence that scientific methods are even accurate, with Widmann saying that “the use of methods like dental x-rays, bone age and genital examinations are highly contested, inaccurate and will not offer the clarity promised, and can be harmful to the child.”

“What’s even more alarming is the Government’s proposals in the Nationality and Borders Bill set out that, if a child doesn’t consent to these medical procedures, this decision can be held against them, effectively taking away their choice,” Widmann said. “Age disputes have serious safeguarding repercussions for children. While they wait for an age dispute decision, they may be locked out of the systems and services in place to protect, care and support children, putting them at incredible risk. 

“We are deeply concerned that if a young person does not consent to these examinations, the Home Office will view the credibility of their asylum claim as being damaged,” said a spokesperson for the British Association for Social Workers. “Delays in the system are one of the most pressing issues facing children seeking asylum. So-called scientific methods are a distraction from the real issues in the system such as delays, access to specialist support, and resources for local authorities to support children in their care.”

ShareEmailTwitterFacebook

SIGN-UP TO EMAIL UPDATES

OUR JOURNALISM RELIES ON YOU

Byline Times is funded by its subscribers. Receive our monthly print edition and help to support fearless, independent journalism.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PRINT EDITION OF BYLINE TIMES FROM AS LITTLE AS £3.50 A MONTH

BECOME A PATRON OF BYLINE TV

SUBSCRIBE TO BYLINE TIMES & GET THIS MONTH’S DIGITAL EDITION IMMEDIATELY

The post Catch-22? Why the Nationality and Borders Bill Risks Failing on its Stated Aims appeared first on Byline Times.

New: Philosophy Podcast on Migration Ethics

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 11/01/2022 - 9:00pm in

There’s a new political theory and philosophy podcast: “Migration Ethics.”


[detail of illustration by Raphael Perez]

The show is hosted by Kieran Oberman of the University of Edinburgh. He says, “The episodes are short interviews with leading philosophers—about 20 minutes long. Each one offers a window into a different philosophical problem relating to migration and border controls.”

You can learn more about (and listen to) the podcast here. You can also find the most recent episode, “Refuge and Aid,” on Spotify.

‘A Deeply Dangerous Power Grab by the Home Secretary’: Conservative Peer Calls for Plans to Strip Citizenship Without Warning to be Scrapped

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 07/01/2022 - 2:27am in

‘A Deeply Dangerous Power Grab by the Home Secretary’Conservative Peer Calls for Plans to Strip Citizenship Without Warning to be Scrapped

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi told peers that immigrants’ fears that future generations would be treated like outsiders and second-class citizens are not unfounded

ShareEmailTwitterFacebook

The Government’s plans to allow British people to be stripped of their British citizenship without notice is a “deeply dangerous power grab” by the Home Secretary, according to the former chair of the Conservative Party and the first Muslim woman to attend the Cabinet.

Conservative peer Baroness Sayeeda Warsi called for clause 9 of the Nationality and Borders Bill – which was passed by MPs in the Commons and is now being considered in the House of Lords – to be struck out and said it was a “government sleight of hand” as a “last-minute addition”.

Although the power to rescind citizenship from British citizens, if it is deemed “conducive to the public good”, has existed for a number of years, it has been incrementally expanded over time.

The 1981 British Nationality Act allows for the deprivation of citizenship. Today, a British citizen with no other citizenship can be stripped of their citizenship if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they can acquire another citizenship. The high-profile case of Shamima Begum in 2019 demonstrated the principle – with her British citizenship rescinded because her parents are from Bangladesh, even though she has never lived there. 

Clause 9 now extends the power further, meaning that the Government will not be required to provide notice of a decision to deprive a person of their citizenship.

“This power grab by the Home Secretary is deeply dangerous, one that seeks to deprive someone of their right to citizenship without even giving the person being deprived the right to know, depriving them even of the right to check whether the Secretary of State had the legal basis or accurate facts to exercise that power,” Baroness Warsi told peers. “These proposals would mean that I would have greater protections when being deprived of my driving licence than of my nationality.”

The Home Office has said that “citizenship is a privilege, not a right” but that clause 9 would only be used in “exceptional circumstances” – such as not knowing where an individual is because they are in a war zone or because informing them would “reveal sensitive intelligence sources”. 


Plans to Strip Citizenship Without Notice Must Kickstart A Popular Movement Against the ‘Hostile Environment’
Liam Shrivastava

A fact-sheet issued by the Home Office on clause 9 states: “It is vital, including to our national security, that we ensure that, just because we cannot immediately tell a person they are to be deprived of British citizenship, it doesn’t make the decision any less valid or prevent the deprivation order being made.”

But the clause has led to widespread concern that the power could be used more widely, and expanded further, with analysis by the New Statesman concluding that up to six million British citizens could be eligible to a deprivation order without warning under clause 9 – including two in every five people from non-white minorities, compared with just one in 20 people categorised as white.

Baroness Warsi told the House of Lords that the “notion of citizenship being a privilege seems to be a popular, but sadly ignorant, mantra”.

“My parents’ generation, now in their 80s, always feared that their future generations would be outsiders, second-class citizens who would be told to ‘go back home’ or to leave,” she said. “My generation always dismissed these fears as unfounded, but Windrush proved they were not baseless. Clause 9 and the Government’s exponential use of deprivation powers compound these fears.”

Baroness Warsi, who was made a peer in 2007, was born in Yorkshire to Muslim parents from Pakistan. A lawyer, she served as chair of the Conservative Party from 2010 to 2012 and was a Senior Minister of State in David Cameron’s Coalition Government until her resignation over the Government’s policy on the Israel-Gaza conflict in 2014.

She has been vocal about Conservative Islamophobia. After plans for the party to hold an independent inquiry were watered-down in 2019, she told the Guardian: “It’s like a really painful divorce. It does feel like I’m in an abusive relationship at the moment, where I’m with somebody that I really shouldn’t be with. It’s not healthy for me to be there any more with the Conservative Party.”

Speaking in the House of Lords debate, she said that her parents – from a former UK colony – had rights as British citizens, as “all those in the Empire and the Commonwealth did”. 

“When my grandfathers fought for the British Indian Army as British subjects, they did so as citizens,” Baroness Warsi said. “When the Windrush generation answered the call for workers and came to this country, they did so as citizens. When South Asians took up gruelling jobs in the mills and foundries of Yorkshire, as my family did, they did so as citizens, as equal members of this country in a continuation of a bond that had started decades earlier.”


From Conrad’s Kurtzto Enoch PowellConservatism Takes A Dark Turn to the Past
Peter Jukes and Hardeep Matharu

She said this had not been a “conditional or temporary right” that a government would “try to take away from them and their children or grandchildren in ever more cunningly creative ways” and that “it certainly was not a privilege”. 

“It was a right, one established through our colonial history, through strife, blood, sweat and those who even gave their lives,” she added. “By formally taking a British passport, they were merely formalising a right, not having a privilege bestowed upon them.”

Baroness Warsi blamed both Conservative and Labour Governments for expanding the scope of deprivation of citizenship over the years, because they had “torn down the basic belief that all citizens in this country are and should be equal and that, as a citizen, you are a permanent member”.

According to the Home Office, removing British citizenship is used against “those who obtained citizenship by fraud and against the most dangerous people, such as terrorists, extremists and serious organised criminals” and “always comes with a right to appeal”.

The latest figures show that, between 2010 and 2018, around 19 people a year on average have been deprived of their citizenship on the grounds of this being ‘conducive to the public good’, as stated in the Home Office’s fact-sheet.

“These laws have the potential to include Members of Parliament and their families,” Baroness Warsi told peers. “They include our loved ones, friends and colleagues; they include some of us. This is not scaremongering, this is fact.”

ShareEmailTwitterFacebook

SIGN-UP TO EMAIL UPDATES

OUR JOURNALISM RELIES ON YOU

Byline Times is funded by its subscribers. Receive our monthly print edition and help to support fearless, independent journalism.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PRINT EDITION OF BYLINE TIMES FROM AS LITTLE AS £3.50 A MONTH

BECOME A PATRON OF BYLINE TV

SUBSCRIBE TO BYLINE TIMES & GET THIS MONTH’S DIGITAL EDITION IMMEDIATELY

The post ‘A Deeply Dangerous Power Grab by the Home Secretary’: Conservative Peer Calls for Plans to Strip Citizenship Without Warning to be Scrapped appeared first on Byline Times.

Cartoon: The haunting of the White House

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 25/09/2021 - 7:50am in

Follow me on TwitterFacebookInstagram, or at my website.

Some socialist points on the Tory government’s anti-immigration offensive

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 19/02/2020 - 10:19pm in

The answer to the Tories’ planned nasty immigration restrictions cannot be: we need a continuing supply of cheap labour to keep the economy going and to staff social care on zero hours contracts and, in effect, less than minimum wage. … Continue reading →

Microsoft hypocrisy the tip of the iceberg

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 05/07/2018 - 1:23pm in

This piece was originally published on Patreon.

Tech giant Microsoft condemned Trump’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) department for splitting thousands of children from their families at the US border.

CEO, Satya Nadella described the policy as ‘abhorrent’. The company released a statement denying its technology was being used to separate families, but Microsoft still has not committed to ending its multi-million dollar contract with ICE.

More than 10,000 children have been ripped from their families at the US border, thrown into caged detention centres, where they are reportedly banned from even talking to one another.

As a company, Microsoft is dismayed by the forcible separation of children from their families at the border,” the company wrote on its website. “Family unification has been a fundamental tenet of American policy and law since the end of World War II. As a company Microsoft has worked for over 20 years to combine technology with the rule of law to ensure that children who are refugees and immigrants can remain with their parents. We need to continue to build on this noble tradition rather than change course now. We urge the administration to change its policy and Congress to pass legislation ensuring children are no longer separated from their families.”

The statement comes just days after it was condemned by its own employees for signing a $26.4 million dollar contract with ICE for the use of its Azure Cloud Service. Microsoft staff are calling on the company to end its contract with the agency.

President Donald Trump and Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella.

The company denied its technology was being used for the express purpose of separating children from their families. “We are not aware of Azure or Azure services being used for this purpose,” the statement reads.

However, Microsoft failed to go so far as to announce it was severing ties with the agency.

On its own blog, Microsoft announced that its Azure Cloud service was being used to handle ICE’s ‘most sensitive unclassified data’ including the kind that supports its core agency functions.

Seeing as how these core functions include patrolling the streets, illegally demanding people present papers proving their citizenship, launching armed dawn-raids on families it claims are illegal immigrants and deporting them, and separating families from one another at the border, it takes some amazing hubris for Microsoft to try to make the distinction.

“This ATO is a critical next step in enabling ICE to deliver such services as cloud-based identity and access, serving both employees and citizens from applications hosted in the cloud,” Microsoft wrote on its blog.

“This can help employees make more informed decisions faster, with Azure Government enabling them to process data on edge devices or utilize deep learning capabilities to accelerate facial recognition and identification. ICE’s decision to accelerate IT modernization using Azure Government will help them innovate faster while reducing the burden of legacy IT. The agency is currently implementing transformative technologies for homeland security and public safety, and we’re proud to support this work with our mission-critical cloud.”

Bloomberg reported on Monday that Microsoft had tried to scrub the online reference to its work for the agency, penned by Microsoft executive, Tom Keane. But the post was restored after the story broke.

Microsoft is being paid more than $26 million dollars to support a modern day gestapo. If it really wants to take the high moral ground, it can start by cancelling its contract with ICE and any agency that contributes to modern day fascism. This includes any work it may, or may not be doing for the CIA, NSA or the 17 agencies that make up America’s intelligence network. Not to mention MI6, MI5, and GCHQ in the UK or ASIO in Australia, (just to name a few).

The recent revelations over Microsoft’s involvement with US intelligence and immigration is just the tip of the iceberg, (pun intended). Not withstanding, tearing migrant children from their parents was an Obama-era practice as well, just not one so obvious and distasteful as involving camps, cages and jails.

Microsoft is not the only company currently working with ICE. The Verge recently revealed that it also has contracts with Dell, Motorola and HP whose values range from $15 million to $76 million.

Earlier this year it was revealed that Google was building Artificial Intelligence technology for the Pentagon, dubbed ‘Project Maven,’ which allowed the military to analyse drone footage faster so as to more accurately assassinate people on foreign soil.

After pushback from staff (and some high-profile reporting on the contract), the tech giant decided against renewing the contract which was estimated to be worth at least $70 million in its first year of operation alone.

In 2016, Obama era counter-terrorism officials traveled to California to woo tech executives from companies including Apple, Facebook and Twitter in a bid to combat the “growing threat of terrorists and other malicious actors using technology, including encrypted technology.”

Government and intelligence contracts are some of the tech world’s most lucrative agreements. (There’s probably a reason Google scrubbed ‘Don’t Be Evil’ from its company values). But it is this reporter’s opinion that tech giants should not allow themselves within a ten city block of any kind of contract that aids in the persecution or surveillance of others, be it at the border, or on domestic or foreign soil.

Unfortunately, these kinds of contracts are tech companies’ bread and butter. More often than not profit always wins out over principle.

If these companies really believe their technology can be used to improve the world’s problems, then their actions should match their rhetoric.

Supporting education, infrastructure and healthcare, or providing IT services for the public sector is one thing. Helping administrations control elections, oppress people seeking asylum from violence and persecution, wage foreign wars, or extrajudicial assassinations is quite another.

If Microsoft truly finds ICE’s practices abhorrent, it cannot condemn it while continuing to take money from the agency. Not if it wants its objections taken seriously. Money talks louder than words.

Thank you for reading. I couldn’t afford to continue my research, or write this book, were it not for the support of my generous sponsors. Support independent journalism, sponsor me on Patreon, starting at $3 a month, or throw some money at my PayPal.

Microsoft hypocrisy the tip of the iceberg was originally published in Hello Humans on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

What do smaller institutions think about the student visa system?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 13/09/2017 - 9:02am in

If more than 10% of institutional visa requests are refused, the institution is automatically removed from the Tier 4 register. Smaller institutions have particular concerns about this - Alex Bols, Chris Taylor and Joe Johnson explain.

The post What do smaller institutions think about the student visa system? appeared first on Wonkhe.

What do universities need to prevent a Brexodus?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 18/07/2017 - 9:01am in

The Russell Group's Hollie Chandler outlines the outstanding questions for universities and their staff and students resulting from the government's initial proposals for EU nationals' ongoing rights in the UK.

The post What do universities need to prevent a Brexodus? appeared first on Wonkhe.

Pages