June 21, 2023Human Rights Act International Humanitarian Law Citizenship Marginalised and vulnerable groups
On 12 June 2023, the Illegal Migration Bill continued its fourth day in the Committee Stage, where members of the House of Lords discussed the clauses on entry and settlement in the UK, as well as British citizenship. Many of the issues raised in RSI's briefing of the bill were highlighted in contributions from Baroness Ludford.
RSI has assessed the harmful impact Clauses 2 and 29 - 34 would have on victims of human trafficking and asylum-seekers' access to British citizenship and settlement in the UK. If enacted, the bill would prevent vulnerable groups, and potentially their children, from ever registering or naturalising as British citizens, and may leave some people de facto stateless in the process. Baroness Ludford commented on how stateless children would be severely affected and potentially subjected to, "a lifetime without citizenship."
The bill's permanent ban on long-term settlement and access to citizenship would also prevent asylum-seekers from reuniting with their families, and could cause many to live in constant fear of deportation.
Baroness Ludford then expanded on these points further by saying, "British citizenship enables a person to live and work in the UK permanently, vote, hold public office and participate fully in British life in a way that no other type of status allows." In permanently denying at-risk groups rights to citizenship and settlement, already vulnerable groups might be pushed further into the margins of society.
RSI also believes the proposals would further emphasize the UK's racialized tiers of citizenship, where those who are white, British-born citizens retain the highest levels of protections and rights; while others, such as people from migrant backgrounds who could potentially obtain another citizenship, are afforded fewer protections.
RSI continues to advocate for the removal of Clauses 2 and 29 - 34 from the bill.
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