Today I challenged the Home Secretary on her “new plan for immigration”, which she introduced to Parliament alongside the launch of her consultation on new immigration rules.
This plan includes a number of shocking and cruel measures, and has been branded ‘inhumane’ by the Red Cross. It will condemn those arriving through anything other than Government-approved schemes, which she described as ‘illegal’, to limited family reunion rights and limited access to support. The Home Secretary also pledged to remove anyone who entered the UK ‘illegally’ having travelled through a “safe country” even if they had a valid asylum claim.
In response to her statement today, I told Parliament:
“This cynical announcement is built on the availability of safe and legal routes. This morning the Home Secretary claimed: “We have safe and legal routes …. and we have a programme called the Syrian refugee resettlement scheme.” She will know that the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme actually finished at the end of February, as its quota was filled. There are no details of how the new UK Resettlement Scheme will work. So could the Home Secretary tell us how many people it will take, and explain how it will operate – for example by outlining the process available to a refugee from the world’s worst conflict in Yemen?”
In response, the Home Secretary gave no detail on the UK Resettlement Scheme, how many people it will cover and how it will work, but claimed “We are in discussion with partner agencies”.
The asylum system is broken, but the answer is having safe and legal routes to refuge for those fleeing persecution and conflict, so they aren’t forced into the arms of people smugglers, and quick and effective processing of claims by the Home Office.
You can see a clip of my exchange here.