Why the Nationality & Borders Bill is bad for black communities and why it is a trade union issue
In 2020 the long awaited Windrush Lessons Learned (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/windrush-lessons-learned-review-progress-update) report was published setting out a range of recommendations for the government and the Home Office. Despite these recommendations not being implemented the government has pressed ahead with the Nationality and Borders Bill (https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/3023).
The Bill is racist, draconian and inhumane for a number of reasons which include but not limited to:
- A provision to strip citizenship from millions of people with no notice or recourse based on the fact that they or their parent were born abroad.
- Off-shoring of processing of refugees – the government have just recently announced a deal struck with Rwanda. This would mean that refugees who have walked hundred of miles and crossed perilous seas to get to the UK would be sent thousands of miles away to Rwanda to process their application for asylum in the UK but with the aim of dumping them permanently in Rwanda.
- A two-tier process for refugees so that those who arrive by small boat because they have no other choice would be labelled as bad refugees who have arrived illegally and who can be pushed back into the sea putting their life at risk and breaching international human rights and maritime law. Even worse, the government wants members of our union working at the Home Office to carry out this inhumane action, also putting workers at risk. PCS has launched judicial review action with charity Care4Calais to challenge this. My organisation BARAC UK, also has a petition (https://actionstorm.org/petitions/stop-the-government-turning-away-small-boats-of-migrants-6148cb336d5cf) which you can sign HERE. (https://actionstorm.org/petitions/stop-the-government-turning-away-small-boats-of-migrants-6148cb336d5cf)
- Breaching the rights of children who are refugees by using inappropriate methods to determine their age
So why is this a matter for trade unions to be concerned about? Because it impacts on our members and their families and their communities, because trade unions have a responsibility and a history of standing up for human rights and for equality and because our members would be called upon to take forward these policies.
PCS with Care4 Calais (https://care4calais.org/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI9uq61ubU9wIVWuztCh3XwQE_EAAYASAAEgIPXfD_BwE) legally challenged Pushback (https://www.pcs.org.uk/news-events/news/home-office-backs-down-refugee-pushbacks-policy-face-legal-case) and were successful. We are now in a joint legal challenge (https://www.pcs.org.uk/news-events/news/pcs-brings-legal-challenge-against-plans-send-asylum-seekers-rwanda) against the proposed Rwanda Migration Plan (https://www.migrationpolicy.org/news/uk-rwanda-asylum-agreement).
Zita Holbourne, National Vice President, PCS