**Trigger warning: the statement discusses immigration, human rights violations and racism**
We, along with many of you, are currently trying to process the barrage of emotions we are feeling regarding the Nationality and Borders Bill. If you are not familiar with Nationality and Borders Bill (which has just passed its third reading in parliament, and months away from becoming law) or the ‘Anti-Refugee Bill’ as it has been aptly dubbed, it is a bill that criminalises large parts of the Refugee Convention which protects the rights of displaced people all over the world, and has done for the last 70 years. If passed, the bill gives the Government the ability to:
- Revoke British citizenship for citizens who are eligible for citizenship in another country, this includes British Citizens who were born here. This obviously affects a large portion of both the British Black and Asian communities.
- Deem asylum seekers entering the country through ‘improper channels’ illegal and therefore ineligible to claim asylum. For context, there is no illegal way to enter a county when seeking asylum, and this has been the case for the last 70 years thanks to the Refugee Convention.
- ‘Process’ asylum claims offshore – this means detaining asylum seekers outside of the UK until their case has been processed. A case they are much less likely to win if they are isolated from any support, advocacy, legal advice, community integration, or autonomy.
- Criminalise efforts to ensure people make it safely across the channel, including rescuing boats where the alternative is people dying.
Today – 10th December – is supposed to be a celebration of Human Rights. This bill is stripping people of their very basic rights as human beings. It is abhorrent in its inherent and undisguised racism.
We want to recognise the anger, fear, and despair that will be permeating the sector and our communities right now across the UK. We also want to recognise the exhaustion for those existing in our already broken asylum ‘system’, and for those fighting with them.
We are deeply worried about the impact this bill will have on our community. We’ve seen what happens when the Government mandates racism, and we need to be proactive about what this could mean for black and brown people in the south east of Glasgow, and beyond.
There is power in community. In collective grief, in collective anger, in collective support and collective action. We are of course here to share information, resources, and voices within our community. To support the work that you do, and to support each other to protect the rights of our neighbours.
We hope that, as part of this network, you feel part of this community and feel a little less alone in what we’re facing.
Thank you all that you do. Below is a list of actions you can take to oppose the Nationality and Borders Bill.
With care and solidarity,
South East Integration Network
Actions / Resources
- See information and resources from Refugee Action and Amnesty International
- Write to your MP and MSP, see the template on Freedom from Torture’s website. You can also do this at They Work For You. These letters are important – they give our politicians a mandate.
- Sign the following petitions to remove Clause 9 (this is the clause in the bill which gives the Government the power to remove someone’s British citizenship without warning): Change.org Petition / UK Gov & Parliament Petition
- Join the national Together With Refugees Campaign, who share resources and have collectively organised to oppose the bill
- Follow activist and campaign organisations on social media, such as M.O.R.E and No Evictions Network
- Donate to the Scottish Refugee Council’s fundraiser and/or other organisations doing vital work protecting the rights of refugees & people seeking asylum
- Protest, in person and online.