AVID Training
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On Monday, the Home Secretary’s Nationality and Borders Bill had its second reading in parliament.

The Bill represents an approach to immigration policy that is fuelled by misunderstanding of the reasons why people come to the UK; of the right to claim asylum no matter how you’ve arrived; and of the beliefs of the British public about how we should treat people who want to make their home here.

In April 2021, polling commissioned by Refugee Council found that two in three UK adults (64%) believe that the UK should protect refugees fleeing war and persecution.

Two in three UK adults (64%) believe that the UK should protect refugees fleeing war and persecution (Refugee Council, April 2021)

Our network of grassroots organisations spans the UK, so we have seen this in practice. Most people believe in welcoming others and supporting anyone who would like to make their home in our communities. That’s why our network believes people should be allowed to deal with the administrative aspects of their immigration case while living in the community, where it is easier to access legal advice and emotional support.

The Government made its own commitments to expanding alternatives to detention projects which it has now scrapped. The Home Secretary has also announced plans to open the first new detention centre in the UK since 2007, rowing back on the Government’s previous commitments to reduce the number of people in detention overall.

The Nationality and Borders Bill will lead to more, not less, people being detained, including before making an asylum claim in ‘Reception Centres’ resembling the barracks at Napier and Penally. It will also make it harder for people to get bail from detention and opens the door for the Government to introduce offshore detention centres, which have notoriously shocking human rights records as they are harder to monitor and scrutinise. In addition, the Bill makes provision for a fast-track appeals process that puts refugees at greater risk of being denied the protection they vitally need.

We urge the Government to abandon this enforcement-based approach.

We know that allowing people to live in the community and engaging them in the processes defining their own future is more effective, cheaper and more humane than depriving people of their liberty for administrative reasons.

Most importantly, we know that the public believes in protecting refugees, and this Bill will do the opposite.

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