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The new Immigration Bill is sinister and nasty


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The new Immigration Bill is a sinister, nasty piece of legislation. Building on man-made laws that define certain humans as ‘illegal’, it seeks to create an even more hostile environment for an already marginalised section of society. People are to be deprived of employment, bank accounts, driving licences, accommodation and family life. Legal rights for seeking redress will be severely curtailed and the courts instructed by Parliament how to decide cases. At the same time social media channels churn out bile, propaganda wagons have been sent to patrol the streets bearing a slogan of hate and ‘papers, please‘ checks at public transport and on streets are spreading.

But families will not simply accept their own extermination. Lovers will not part because a bureaucrat makes an error. Parents will not abandon their dreams for their children because some politician says so. Children will not exile their own parents to a distant and lonely death because compassion and rights are no longer relevant to modern public policy.

Papers, please
Papers, please

Nor will society return to the chalky-white days of the 1950s, before all these inconvenient cross-border, cross-racial family relationships. Theresa May’s ‘hostile environment’ is not just about purging these modern, loving families from our society, it is also about wishfully thinking that such relationships can be discouraged in future. The setting of the minimum income for spouses at a level that literally half the population cannot meet warns our young and poor people that love with a foreigner comes at huge personal cost. It is intended to dissuade.

Theresa May’s social engineering is unnatural and morally wrong. It cannot possibly work. But it can cause misery along the way.

Taking away civil rights and immigration appeal rights will punish migrants and their families, both present and future. But they will not simply give up. They will fight on by whatever means available, within the law or without. Appeals will diminish but applications for judicial review will rise. It will be more expensive, it will be slower and it will be less effective but it will be the only lawful option. The blog will return to this issue of what remedies will be available in a future posting.

However, students may well decide to study elsewhere. Somewhere less overtly and deliberately hostile. Businesses may well relocate, or else they will fall behind in the global battle for talent, dragging our economy with them. Our public services, so reliant on foreign labour, may well deteriorate.

The Immigration Bill will punish us all if it becomes law: we will all be collateral damage in the quest to create an unnatural and hostile environment.

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Colin Yeo

Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder of the Free Movement immigration law website.


15 Responses

  1. Well said Colin. It’s a thoroughly depressing piece of legislation.

    The attack on rights of appeal will, as you say, cost money in the long run. The drain of students and other immigrants will also cost us a lot more.

    It is profoundly depressing to see the constant anti-immigrant rhetoric and the willingness of this Government to throw out policies that appear borderline racist in order to pander to the right. As well as the great irony of the Tories saying that they are ‘the party of the family’ when they are maintaining such anti-family policies. I just hope that the Lib Dems stand up to this.

    Anyway. Rant over. I’m off to carry on with my second legal aid consultation response. Between Grayling and May this Government feels like it’s engaged in an all out war on the rule of law.

  2. We are now in the run up to the election and the dog whistles are blowing hard, appeal rights will be curtailed further, street operations will surge, a greater proportion of asylum applicants will be detained and the funding for legal aid will be slashed again, this is just the begining……..

  3. I can’t honestly see the Lib Dems supporting this bill, and with Labour becoming more liberal on the issue lately, I doubt they will either. Even if the Labour leadership indicated they would, huge numbers of urban Labour MPs whose election depends on immigrant communities will not. So how is it getting through Parliament? I think it is early electioneering and no more.

    1. I’m not so optimistic, I think there is a good chance of it making the statute book. The Lib Dem leadership must have had sign off on it, and I doubt Labour has the spine to risk looking weak on immigration.


  4. This is a brilliant write-up.

    What do UKBA letters say at the footer? “Building a safe, just and TOLERANT society.”

    TOLERANT? Now there’s a joke if there ever were one!

  5. Yes Colin I agree that Labour do not have the spine to oppose this. Remember their only regret about the last election is that they were not “tougher” on immigration. While the Coalition has made things worse most of the groundwork was done by Labour, many of whose members regard immigrants as just a threat to their jobs.

  6. Collin you are an inspiration for a lot of innocent hard working stateless immigrants, who have called the UK their home and have contributed positively to society but yet are deemed to be here illegally. its great knowing that they are people like yourself who are ready to render justice for them.

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