Email to Fay Jones on 7th March 2023
Thanks for your letter in January which served to confirm that we have very different world views.
I know that you will be expecting this email and I hope many others along the same lines. As always I write on behalf of the group.
Many people believe that seeking asylum is a fundamental Human Right and no government should seek to remove this.
Your government’s own statistics show that the vast majority of the men, women and children who cross the Channel in order to claim asylum are later recognised as refugees. That means that it recognises that they are fleeing war and persecution and deserve safety on these shores.
The only way to stop people risking their life making this perilous crossing is to provide safe routes. No one would willingly undertake such a dangerous journey unless they really believed there was no other option. Aside from the Hong Kong and Ukraine schemes, right now there are almost no ways for someone needing sanctuary to be reunited with family to safely reach the UK. In fact, this month it was revealed that only twenty two people have been brought to safety since the launch of the Afghan Resettlement Scheme.
If the system functioned better, there would be no need for your government to scapegoat a small group of tired and scared people who are being forced to risk everything in the hope of finding sanctuary.
Rather than focusing on sensationalist and unworkable distractions, your government must tackle the 150,000 unprocessed asylum cases. This backlog means that instead of waiting a few months for a decision on an asylum claim, people often now wait for years. If the system functioned better, there would be no need to house people in expensive, unsuitable, and in some cases outright dangerous, hotel accommodation, disused barracks or aerodromes.
If you really want to stop human trafficking and punish the people who profit from these dangerous journeys then provide safe routes, assess the claims in the areas these desperate asylum seeking people travel from . Please stop your government from trying to punish and stigmatise the Traffickers’ victims.
Please represent the views of the many constituents who support our group. Please support common humanity.
Ailsa Dunn secretary for Hay, Brecon & Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees [ 1173570]
The Bill had it’s first reading on 7th March, Second on 13th March and Third on 26th April and is now with the House of Lords. Our MP Fay JOnes voted with the goivernment on all three readings
she wrote on 11th May
Thank you for contacting me about the Illegal Migration Bill.
I can assure you that the UK has a proud history of supporting those in need of protection and since 2015 we have welcomed 480,000 people through safe and legal routes from all over the world, as well as via country-specific routes from Syria, Hong Kong, Afghanistan and Ukraine. But while our compassion may be infinite, our capacity to help is not.
The numbers now crossing the English Channel illegally via small boats reached 45,000 last year and we are now spending over £6m a day on housing them in hotels because local authorities do not have the capacity to support them. This is not sustainable, and it is impacting on our ability to help those genuinely in danger who might come via our safe and legal routes.
The introduction of the Illegal Migration Bill is intended to curb the levels of illegal migration into the UK. This will remove the incentive for people making dangerous small-boat crossings from safe countries like France, and will ultimately save lives by stopping people taking these risks. It will also free up capacity so that the UK can better support those in genuine need of asylum through safe and legal routes. The Bill will ensure that we continue to support the most vulnerable, but will introduce an annual cap once illegal migration is under control. In conjunction with local authorities, this will allow the Government to take into consideration local capacity for accommodation, public services and support.
The Home Secretary has also been clear that the duty to remove, which is included in the new Bill, will not be applied to detain and remove unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. Only in limited circumstances, such as for the purposes of family reunion, will the Government remove unaccompanied asylum-seeking children from the UK. Otherwise, they will be provided with the necessary support in the UK until they become adults.
Article 31 of the UN Refugee Convention is clear that individuals may be removed if they don’t come directly from the territory where their freedom is threatened. Since the illegal migrants will still be provided with protection in safe third countries like Rwanda, and since they will have passed through multiple safe countries to get to the UK, the legislation is therefore entirely consistent with the letter and spirit of the Convention. While the measures are novel, ambitious and untested, the Home Secretary is confident that the legislation is fully compliant with our obligations.
Secondly, this Government is rightly proud of the world-leading modern slavery legislation we ourselves introduced, but we must be honest that the system is being abused by people with no right to be here, determined to frustrate their removal from the UK. When our Modern Slavery Act passed, the impact assessment envisaged 3,500 referrals a year. Last year, there were 17,000 referrals, which took on average 543 days to consider. The most referred nationality in 2022 were citizens of Albania, a safe European country, signatory of European Convention on Action against Trafficking, and a NATO ally. In 2021, 73 per cent of people who were detained for removal put forward a Modern Slavery claim, compared to just three per cent of those not in detention.
I can assure you that this Bill is designed to be compassionate by ending the cruel practice whereby people place their lives in the hands of evil criminal gangs who threaten and abuse them and go on to use their profits for other criminal endeavours such as the drugs and weapons trade. It is also designed to combat a system which has become unfair on the most vulnerable in the world, who are pushed further back in the queue by people who can afford to pay a gang, and to bring fairness to the British taxpayer who must foot the bills for the hotels but expect their laws and their borders to be respected.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.