Anger Over Plans To Allow Ministers To Change Immigration Laws Without Going Through Parliament

By Jenn Selby, Freelance News Editor 28 Jan 2019

Protestors from a number of human rights organisations have voiced their anger over plans which could see ministers bypassing Parliament when changing immigration laws.

The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, which passed its second reading on Monday January 28, has been put forward by Home Secretary Sajid Javid, and aims to repeal current EU legislation around freedom of movement for European migrants and migrants overseas.

Mr Javid believes that the provisions made in the Bill are compatible with the Human Rights Convention, which is part of domestic UK law through the Human Rights Act.

However, campaigners are concerned that the legislation would allow decisions to be made that would affect these rights.

‘The Bill Is Diminishing The Rights Of Migrants To Nothingness’

Dr Francesca Zanatta, who migrated to England from Italy in 2007, campaigns on behalf of Schools Against Borders for Children.

The campaign group rejects the claim that any human is illegal, and fears that the hostile environment policy of the Home Office, which led to the Windrush Scandal, will be extended to EU citizens.

“The Bill is diminishing the rights of migrants to nothingness really,” Doctor Zanatta told Rights Info.

“It is dividing immigrants into categories, and [the] categories are determined by the assumed value of the migrants to the country. So some migrants who earn above £30,000 [per year] will be acceptable to be kept in the country.

“So it’s really creating a division of quality of migrants. And it’s also preventing migrants from [having] the capacity for recourse against the denial of the rights to stay and is treating the data of migrants as something that can be used by the Houses of Parliament and the Home Office to deport them.”

Schools Against Borders for Children previously effectively lobbied to stop the Government collecting data on the nationality of children which could be used to deport them or their families.

Freedom Of Movement For All

Sajid Javid has not sought assurances about the use of the death penalty for the beatles isis cell

Image Credit: Find a Future / Flickr

Guy Taylor, who protested on behalf of Global Justice Now, an organisation that believes in a human right to free movement of all people, and that they should be able to live where they want to.

“In the UK we have successive governments that scapegoat migrants, they blame the ills of society on them, and again they are trying to do that in 2019,” he says.

We owe it to them, because this country has been involved in making those lives quite desperate.

Guy Taylor, Global Justice Now

“We have to resist this scapegoating and making people worse off through the hostile environment policy, finding ways to make people suffer for the excesses of the Government.

“When people come to this country, we’re told its to steal jobs or take benefits, but basically, people come to this country for want of a better life, and people’s lives in other countries can be quite desperate. And we owe it to them, because this country has been involved in making those lives quite desperate through various exploitations or wars or attacks, and I think we should help our fellow human beings live a better life.”

Hostile Environment Policy And The Way Forward

Human rights advocacy group Liberty has also recommended a number of amendments for the Bill to the government. These include a repeal of the hostile environment policy, the reinstatement of legal aid, and data protection rights for migrants, and the removal of Home Office power to make rights-infringing policy by taking away the power of Parliament to vote on key immigration amendments.

The Bill has been tabled ahead of Britain’s planned exit from the European Union on 29 March.

It’s really creating a division of quality of migrants. And it’s also preventing migrants from having the capacity for recourse against the denial of the right to stay.

Dr Francesca Zanatta, Schools Against Borders For Children

The departure from the EU will see the end of free movement for migrants from the continent to the UK – except citizens from Ireland, who will be granted leave to remain and freedom of movement inside the UK in order to avoid a hard border between the Republic of Ireland (which will remain part of the EU) and Northern Ireland.

At the moment, EU citizens and their families need to apply for ‘settled status’ to continue living in the UK after June 2021.

They are required to have started living in the UK before 1 January 2021 to apply to the scheme.

The Bill passed through to the third stage following the Labour leadership decision not to oppose it at the second reading in the Commons in order to allow some legislation on the free movement of EU nationals to go through ahead of the Brexit date. Instead, they intend to push for amendments during the committee stage – and before it is voted on in the House of Lords.

Feature image credit: Jenn Selby/RightsInfo