Priti Patel’s New Immigration Bill

When someone was in debt or breached the law in classical times, they were enslaved. Slavery could last for a certain period of time or till the end of one’s life, depending on the circumstances. Currently, only criminals are enslaved for punishment in all countries worldwide, and it is forbidden in all other cases. Slavery is practised in the contemporary world like human trafficking in industrialised and non-industrialised countries in numerous forms, such as forced marriages, housekeeping work, and child labour.

Priti Patel’s New Immigration Bill

On 5 January 2022, the House of Lords is expected to discuss the Nationality and Borders Bill in its second reading stage. This week, the House of Lords Library has produced an applicable new briefing sheet on the Bill.

According to the government, the Bill aims to improve the system’s fairness to protect better and support those seeking asylum; to deter illegal entry into the UK thereby disrupting the business model of people smuggling networks, and to make it easier to remove those who have no right to be in the UK. The Bill would also change nationality rules and processes for recognising and protecting victims of modern slavery and human trafficking.

A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security said: “The bill creates a fair and robust immigration system that repairs our broken asylum system, protects the most vulnerable people, and crack down on illegal immigrants and criminal organisations that encourage them.” If the measure is enacted, asylum seekers who entered the nation through a “safe third country” will be repatriated.

The Bill’s stated aims, which are now in committee, are to make the asylum system more equitable, discourage illegal entry into the UK, and remove those who have no legal right to remain in the country. It also means that anybody who unlawfully enters the UK, such as via small boats across the Channel, risks having their claim invalidated, facing a four-year jail sentence, losing public support, and having their family members barred from joining them.

Ministers will urge refugees to use safe and legal avenues. But there are no such “safe legal avenues” for the great majority of individuals. There is no such thing as a refugee visa.

The New Bill

The massive influx of immigrants from continental Europe to the United Kingdom has become a political concern for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Interior Minister Priti Patel. During his 2016 campaign, Johnson promised to “regain control” of the British border after leaving the European Union.

The law, which has previously been attacked by the Unbiased Anti-Slavery Commissioner, top police officers, and backbenchers like Iain Duncan Smith, just passed through the House of Commons and is scheduled to pass through the House of Lords next month.

Children born in the United Kingdom can only gain British citizenship if the Home Secretary is satisfied that the child can no longer obtain citizenship in another nation. The Secretary of State will revoke British citizenship without their knowledge under the new rule. Those who enter the UK unlawfully must also have a compelling motive for doing so, such as evidence that their lives or freedom are at risk.

According to an analysis by a group of top immigration attorneys, Priti Patel’s contentious new border bill breaches international and local law in at least ten ways. This has surfaced as Patel battles cabinet members and Conservative MPs who want asylum seekers to work in the UK.

According to the barristers, the government’s proposed two-tier asylum system will result in those who come by “illegal ways,” such as boats, being granted fewer rights, which would be in contravention of the refugee convention and the European Convention on Human Rights.

Reaction to the New Immigration Bill

Priti Patel’s new immigration bill has caused much havoc and consternation recently, as it threatens to strip the nationalities of many people of colour who have obtained British citizenship through the immigration process. However, many of them were born in the country and have lived here.

This new immigration regulation affects British citizens and refugees seeking asylum or protection in the United Kingdom. According to the legislation, entering the UK without authority is a criminal violation, and police can punish refugees to up to four years in jail. Many people believe that this is a bill that those in positions of power might easily exploit to commit crimes that would hurt many people’s lives.

Those affected by the law have expressed their displeasure. When asked about the new regulations of the Nationality and Borders Bill, Mish Rahman, who is of Bangladeshi origin and has lived in the UK his entire life, stated, “If this isn’t discriminatory, I don’t know what is.”

Many people have termed this law racist and discriminatory since it allows the conservative government to deport people without notice, emphasising on people of colour. Even though they have British citizenship, individuals may lose their citizenship if they have citizenship in another country or if their parents or grandparents were born in another country.

By labelling those who enter illegally as criminals, the government targets people rather than people traffickers. It is “the biggest legal assault on international refugee law ever seen in the UK,” according to a legal opinion commissioned by Freedom from Torture from four barristers led by human rights QC Raza Husain, and “seeks to reverse decisions by the UK Courts going back 20 years, without offering any justification.”

Joint Committee on Human Rights Cautions

According to the Joint Committee on Human Rights, the Nationality and Borders Bill may cause authorities to redirect support away from survivors of exploitation based on the offences they were compelled to commit. Forcing victims to submit proof of their abuse and exploitation within a specified time limit is “unfair” and risks the UK “failing to achieve its promises to eradicate slavery and human trafficking.”

“We’re concerned about the bill’s lack of readability,” Harriet Harman, chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, stated. It alleges that the new legislation would “unnecessarily cast suspicion on the genuineness of potential victims of trafficking or slavery based on how soon they can submit evidence.” It calls on ministers to offer guidelines clarifying timelines and acceptable reasons for missing a deadline.

Members of Parliament warning

The MPs also warned that denying victims of human trafficking or slavery access to safety due to a prior crime was “mistaken,” warning that this might act as an “invitation to the gangs responsible to target people with a criminal record.”

Prosecuting human trafficking victims is incorrect because it punishes them for what they were compelled to do as victims. “The federal government should give more openness on how the new regulations would apply in such circumstances and what it is doing to guarantee that victims are not penalised in violation of its human rights commitments,” according to the research.

Half of the Bill has several amendments to modern slavery aid. Home Secretary Priti Patel claims would prevent individuals from “frustrating immigration motion” by uncovering abuse late in the process. Any victim sentenced to more than a year in jail anywhere on the planet would be ineligible for modern slavery aid in the United Kingdom, and survivors would be given a set length of time to reveal the harm they’ve suffered.

Predictable Consequences of the New BillĀ 

The Bill should exist to aid victims in moving ahead, not construct unnecessary obstacles that cast doubt on their integrity or refuse assistance based on criminal behaviours. The Home Office takes longer than ever to decide on people’s claims. As a result of these inexcusable delays, refugees are spending more time in the asylum system.

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