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Friday, 15 April 2016

For Refugees events in a hostile environment for immigrants

The Diocese of London's For Refugees events are particularly necessary in the light of 'a home secretary intent on incorporating a “really hostile environment for illegal immigrants” ([Theresa] May’s own words)':

'When MPs voted, last October, to give the immigration bill 2015-16, currently going through parliament, a second reading, Alistair Carmichael, the Liberal Democrat spokesman, protested that there had already been seven immigration bills in the last eight years and 45,000 changes to the immigration rules since Theresa May became home secretary in 2010. Specialist lawyers such as Giles, who argue that even they can barely keep up, also point to the fact that in 2013, the coalition government cut the legal aid budget by hundreds of millions of pounds. At the same time it limited availability of financial help for immigration cases to judicial reviews, persons seeking asylum, victims of domestic violence or trafficking, and those in immigration detention centres seeking bail. This means that anyone applying to remain in this country, on any basis apart from asylum or domestic violence – be it length of residency, a job offer, investment, marriage or family – must be able to afford a lawyer (and the rapidly increasing visa application fees) or navigate a near-impenetrable system unaided.

Since the Immigration Act 1971 came into force, any migrant caught without the correct papers has been subject to removal from the UK. However, to those for whom it is politically expedient to be seen to be tough on foreigners, this is apparently not enough. The 2015-16 bill, the first since the Tories achieved their majority, received its third reading in the House of Lords on 12 April. The bill is striking for the range and ingenuity of its criminalisation of those who fall foul of the ever-shifting rules: working illegally or hiring illegal workers; renting accommodation while illegal or renting accommodation to someone who might be illegal; driving or having a bank account while illegal – all would carry the possibility of substantial fines or even prison sentences. The government would be given the power to seize the earnings of illegal workers under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. The bill would allow immigration officers to search homes and people and to seize payslips, timesheets and nationality documents. It would also allow police officers who stop vehicles to check immigration status, and proposes that employers who want to hire non-European migrants would have to pay an “immigration skills charge” to do so. More than one observer – Doreen Lawrence among them – has pointed out that some of the powers in the immigration bill, specifically right-to-rent and the right to ask motorists for immigration papers, are effectively permission to discriminate on the basis of colour.'

In this already difficult arena, as explained in yesterday's 'The Long Read' in The Guardian, Tom Giles specialises in defending some of the most difficult and unpopular cases of all: those subject to deportation, and foreign nationals imprisoned in British jails.

Click here to read this shocking and eye-opening article about the reality of our Government's immigration policies and plans. As conference chairwoman in 2002 Theresa May gave a 'Nasty Party' warning to the Conservative Party but, with her immigration policies, has gone on to become 'poster girl' for the 'Nasty Party'. 


Refugees Welcome - Moving.

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