The new ‘Nationality and Borders Bill’ is currently being debated by MPs. Introduced by Priti Patel, the Bill creates an asylum system which treats most refugees as ‘illegal immigrants’ depending on how they entered the UK. Anyone who arrives without prior permission could be criminalised.

In international law there is no such thing as an ‘illegal’ asylum seeker: anyone has the right to seek asylum in any country that has signed the 1951 Refugee Convention.

Refugees often have to resort to irregular means of travel to escape danger. They must already be in Britain to claim asylum and the UK accepts less refugees than other European countries.

Resettlement routes outside the UK are closing, most refugees are unable to make an application for asylum before they are forced to flee and in future closing borders removes any ‘legitimate ‘ ways to enter the UK. Asylum seekers are already unable to work, live on a limited allowance and are housed in appalling conditions in detention centres.

The Bill gives powers to further reduce support and make camp-style ‘housing’ across the UK, and to send people to offshore asylum centres, away from public scrutiny.

The final part of the Bill attempts to stop legal representatives for asylum seekers from challenging the Home Office by introducing fines for ‘time-wasting’ and limits on access to justice.

Please write to your MP to oppose this inhumane Bill.

Heather Smith, 

York Stand up to Racism, York