Today the Nationality and Borders Bill has its second reading in the House of Lords. As many of you will know, the Bill contains a whole host of deeply troubling Government proposals for changes to the asylum and immigration system in the UK, including allowing the ‘push back’ of boats crossing the English Channel, using offshore centres to hold people while their asylum claims are processed, and creating a ‘two tier system’ where refugees would be treated differently depending on how they arrive in the UK.
With many organisations already doing great work opposing these parts of the Bill, we have decided to focus on one specific element: the proposal to allow the Secretary of State to deprive someone of British citizenship without notice. Although it has come as a surprise to many people, the Secretary of State already has the power to deprive people of their citizenship. If you’re reading this newsletter, you probably share our concerns over the lack of transparency around the use of this power. Technically, it can be used against anyone who has displayed “unacceptable behaviours”, and the Government has refused to publish any details on the numbers of times it has used this power in the last few years (let alone give any details on their reasons for using it). But now the Government is trying to go even further: if this Bill passes unamended, you could be deprived of your citizenship and not even told about it, thus hampering any opportunity to appeal the decision and clear your name.
We have been working with a number of members of the House of Lords who share our opposition to this clause in the Bill and you can expect a number of them to voice that opposition in the debate today. In the coming weeks, we’ll be working with them to table amendments to the Bill with the aim of making it harder, rather than easier, for the Government to deprive someone of their citizenship so do keep an eye on our Twitter feed (@migrants_rights) for all the latest developments.
Click here to read more of January’s newsletter including: how to apply to our Migrants’ Aspiration Programme, information on an asylum-related podcast, and recent sector vacancies!