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SUBJECT: Will you oppose the Illegal Migration Bill?
As one of your constituents, I am writing to you today to express how deeply concerned I am by the Government’s ‘Illegal Migration Bill’. I am deeply concerned about these proposals and the announcements made by the Prime Minister on Friday. These plans are immoral and inhumane – and the Government knows it.
Safe routes to the UK are few and far between, and inaccessible for the majority of those who need them.1 The Home Secretary herself acknowledged that, for anyone who didn’t fit into the limited visa schemes currently on offer, the only ‘safe route’ available was to arrive on British soil and seek asylum.2 Without documentation, the only way to do this is to undertake the life-threatening journey across the channel. Last year, we resettled only 22 Afghans fleeing war - leaving 8,633 forced to cross the channel.3
If this Bill becomes law, all people who are forced to make this journey will be stripped of their right to seek asylum. We will deny them safety. We will deny them the chance to reunite with family. We will deny them the chance to establish a new life for themselves. Instead, they will be detained by the Home Secretary, denied the possibility of appeal, and banished – permanently separated from friends, family, and the chance of a safe, happy future as members of our communities. This is a poor attempt by the Government to shift public focus away from their own failings, and scapegoat people who have turned to us for safety and welcome.
Added to this, the Prime Minister’s announcements on Friday that he will invest £480m of taxpayer money to foot the bill of a new detention centre in northern France is not only inhumane, but an insult to the British people. Deterrence policies have been tirelessly pursued, and proven to achieve nothing more than to make the journeys of those seeking safety more dangerous.4 A detention centre in northern France would not “stop the boats” – but the creation of safe routes and a fair asylum system would. In the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, with a crumbling NHS, investing half a billion pounds into a detention centre is not in the interests of the public, nor does it reflect our values of compassion and justice, let alone solve the ‘problem’ it purports to.
Instead of accepting their legal and moral responsibility, the government shows contempt for the rights created to protect us from state misconduct. Human rights are universal by nature – and a threat to the rights of one person is a threat to the rights of all. A government that admits a desire to shirk human rights is not a government acting in the interests of its people – and the exorbitant investment of vast sums of taxpayer money to fund their immoral, unworkable plans is evidence of this.
As my MP, will you continue to stand against this Bill? Will you tell the Government to change course – to invest our money into opening safe routes and fixing the asylum system rather than wasting it in the pursuit of inhumane plans that threaten the rights and freedoms of us all?
I look forward to your reply.