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Deep concern at Illegal Migration Bill

Today, 25 April 2023, the Illegal Migration Bill reaches the Report Stage of its progress through Parliament.

Law Centre NI joins with the Law Society of Northern Ireland, the Refugee Council and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in expressing profound concerns at the extent to which this Bill proposes to breach the UK’s international obligations.

The Bill, in its present form, proposes to:

  • Remove the right to claim asylum for thousands of men, women and children fleeing the world’s most brutal regimes and conflicts including those fleeing Afghanistan, Ukraine, Sudan and Yemen.
  • Introduces an accelerated process of detention and deportation, which will see vulnerable families criminalised, detained and deported without access to bail or Judicial Review.
  • Limit the power of the courts in the UK and Europe to uphold human rights, something of concern to all who cherish the rule of law.

Law Centre NI’s Head of Immigration, Peter Lavery, comments:

“Under this Bill, asylum seekers who often are already traumatised, will arrive in Northern Ireland to find that they have been criminalised, are to be imprisoned and deported without access to justice.

The Illegal Migration Bill is an alarming affront to human rights, and on our standards of civility and basic decency. Everything possible should be done to stop the progress of this Bill in its current form.

Law Centre NI calls upon the Home Secretary to withdraw the Illegal Migration Bill as a matter of urgency and to ensure, with certainty, that future versions are compatible with the ECHR and UN Refugee Convention.”