The government’s Immigration Bill needs to be opposed without reservation, for the reasons outlined by the signatories to the statement below.
The initial decision by the Labour leadership not to vote against the Bill rightly led to widespread condemnation. Politicians such as Diane Abbott, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell all have a long-term track record of anti-racist activism and advocacy for migrant rights, but they have all made concessions to arguments for border controls since assuming leadership of the Labour Party. This underscores the need for an anti-racist migrant solidarity movement that is independent of the Labour leadership.
Trade Unions need to give practical support to those facing the consequences of the government’s immigration polices. See the Unite Brexit Immigration law hotline and the Prospect/Bectu guide for EU nationals.
The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, which will enable the government to repeal freedom of movement and associated rights of EU nationals, is an attack on human rights. We stand against the bill and this progression of the government’s hostile environment.
The Windrush scandal showcased the depth of the violence created by hostile environment policies to great public outrage. The new Immigration Bill and accompanying White Paper demonstrate that the government nevertheless remains shameless in seeking to broaden its power to destroy and disrupt the lives of ordinary people. It clearly intends to continue the worst aspects of the hostile environment, couched in the language of ‘eligibility’ and ‘compliance’.
In our view the provisions of this Bill, and many aspects of the immigration system in general, are not compatible with the fundamental rights to privacy, family life and liberty, which should be enjoyed without discrimination on any basis, including national origin.
We reject the politics and policies of dehumanisation that see people torn from their families, stripped of their liberty in detention centres, exploited in their workplaces and left fearful of accessing education or medical care.
We reject the government’s continued commitment to the cruelty of the hostile environment, immigration detention and charter flights.
And we reject the claim that any person is illegal. The cruelty of the border regime is neither necessary nor acceptable. It must be dismantled, so that we can build a society in which fundamental rights and human dignity are not slogans, but reality.
Against Borders for Children
All African Women’s Group
Docs Not Cops
Global Justice Now
Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB)
Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI)
Lesbians and Gays Support Migrants (LGSM)
Migrants’ Rights Network
National Union of Students (NUS)
North East London Migrant Action (NELMA)
Right to Remain
Right 2 Work
Solidarity with Refugees
The Advocacy Academy
Unis Resist Border Controls
United Voices of the World