Tag Archives: asylum seekers

Resumed Parliament discusses things that don’t begin with “B”

The resumption of Parliament has meant that important issues, that would have been sidelined during the ill-fated prorogation, are being discussed.

One subject very dear to Tim Farron’s heart is his private member’s bill, the Access to Radiotherapy Bill, which has been languishing in its first reading stage since December 2017. The resumption of parliament gave him a chance to implore the leader of the House to allow time for its second reading. This Bill is important because it would end the hell of cancer sufferers who have to take 3 hour round trips for radiotherapy day after day, week after week, in places like Tim’s constituency of Westmorland and Lonsdale:

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Lord Roberts is fighting to protect child asylum seekers

On Tuesday, the Lord Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, asked the following question in the House of Lords:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of Project 17’s report Not Seen, Not Heard: Children’s experiences of the hostile environment.

Liberal Democrat Lord Roger Roberts responded with a speech fully in support of protecting children seeking asylum in this country, extracts of which are here:

I want a world fit for children to live in, a world where the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is respected in all parts. We talk of so many people who, because of various circumstances, do not receive this care. This could be because of famine, disease, conflict, poverty and so much else. I think the UN’s latest figure was that about 66 million people are in some sort of statelessness. There are nearly 100,000 unaccompanied children in Europe alone. I would love to say that we can resolve all these problems and help every child, but we do not have a magic wand. However, we do have the ability to remove many obstacles and transform the world of thousands of children.

On a worldwide scale, in the last two months, the conflict in Syria has led to 544 deaths, 100 of which were children. In the same area, unregistered migrants in Turkey have been rounded up and many have been returned to areas where death is a great possibility. On the other side of the Atlantic, on the Mexico-United States border, we have pictures of a little girl drowning in her father’s arms and we read of the President’s intention to round up unregistered immigrants.

But would the UK treat its asylum seekers any better? If we distance ourselves from Europe and co-operation with European countries, will things be better? If we give up our co-operation with countries such as Italy, Greece and France, will conditions improve? Will the kids have a better life? How will Brexit improve the condition of unaccompanied children in Europe? How will Brexit affect the work of the churches, especially the Catholic Church, and their pan-European activity to help refugees? There are many other organisations which deserve the most wonderful praise for all the work they are doing. They know no borders, but the UK is now guilty, with the whole attitude of the hostile environment, of digging ditches instead of building bridges. We are doing something that in itself will cause children to suffer.

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7 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases (part 1)

A busy day yesterday and overnight, so today’s press releases will come in two sections…

  • Home Secretary ‘open-minded’ on right to work
  • Permanent Secretary exit only ‘managed departure’ from DExEU
  • Liberal Democrats demand better for women on International Women’s Day
  • Revealed: Home Office report rubbishes Boris Johnson’s Stop and Search claim

Home Secretary ‘open-minded’ on right to work

Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine has secured assurances from the Home Secretary that he is ‘open-minded’ about her Bill which would loosen rules around asylum seekers’ right to work.

The Edinburgh West MP raised her campaign with Sajid Javid in a joint meeting organised by cross-party group, More …

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Christine Jardine presents bill to allow asylum seekers to work

Yesterday, Christine Jardine presented a Bill which would allow asylum seekers to work after 3 months.

From The Guardian

Jardine’s asylum seekers (permission to work) bill, if passed into law, would allow asylum seekers to work after three months of lodging their claim.

It has the backing of the Lift the Ban coalition, which has published research showing asylum seekers blocked from working in the UK could make a net contribution of £42m to the economy if restrictive rules were lifted.

Jardine said: “Right now, banning the vast majority of asylum seekers from seeking employment costs the taxpayer millions in housing and support payments. It also forces people who have risked everything to come here to live on the very periphery of society.

“Being denied the right to work, and to put food on the table for you and your family, is cruel and undignified.

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31 December 2018 – 6 January 2019 – the week’s press releases

Right, the holiday season is over, and it’s back to something resembling normalcy tomorrow, what with Parliament resuming and all. So, here’s the press releases that you missed…

  • Govt must provide answers over forced marriage scandal
  • Javid comments on asylum seekers ‘completely unacceptable’
  • Corbyn cosies up to the Conservatives on Brexit
  • All Gove is offering farmers is uncertainty
  • Cable: PM’s publicity campaign is scaremongering
  • Cable: Govt must end brinkmanship over security in Northern Ireland
  • Lib Dems: Govt must follow airports and invest in drone protection

Govt must provide answers over forced marriage scandal

Liberal Democrats today condemned reports that the Government is charging victims of illegal forced marriages to …

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5 December 2018 – today’s press releases

I see that one of my colleagues has gotten here first… but here’s the list in full…

  • Govt plan to trap Britain on a never-ending Brexit hamster wheel (as published here)
  • Lib Dems: Asylum seekers need action, not a review of rights
  • Corbyn too in pockets of the unions to back a People’s Vote

Lib Dems: Asylum seekers need action, not a review of rights

In the Chamber this afternoon, Home Secretary Sajid Javid was asked about lifting the ban on asylum seekers working in the UK.

He said “We currently have no plans to change that arrangement but it is one of the …

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20 November 2018 – today’s press releases

Another busy day, but I’m pleased to note that a bit more use is being made of our Spokespeople in the Lords. After all, there are rather more of them than in the Commons, and they’re a valuable asset when it comes to holding the Government to account…

  • Cable: Bank of England must conduct honest assessment of Brexit deal
  • Cable: Govt must block Interpol election of Alexander Prokopchuk
  • Tories to blame for missed NHS targets
  • Cable: Our priority is building the momentum for a People’s Vote
  • Vulnerable people put in homes not fit for human habitation
  • The licence fee is not the Government’s to spend

Cable:

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‘How should the UK change its refugee family reunification policies’: LD4SOS at Brighton Fringe meeting

There were plenty there to hear our panel of speakers and enjoy the refreshments provided courtesy of Lib Dem Voice despite us clashing  with a big consultation on the supporters scheme.

Tim Farron MP started off with a review of the overall position and welcomed the approval earlier in the day of policy motion F16 with all 5 amendments, most notably amendment #1 (LD4SOS). He reminded us that in debates we are not just talking about policies but real people who are affected. He talked about the experience of visiting  Calais, where it was clear that what people were looking for was safety, not a nice life on benefits.

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Our Immigration System is not fit for purpose!

There was a time when a letter in support of an Asylum claim from an MP or Peer would be pretty certain of a reply from the Home Office. People have received permission to stay in the United Kingdom following such letters. Deportation decisions have been reversed. It is not too much to claim that lives might have been saved.

That is not the case today. I myself am still waiting for six or seven responses.

Tens of thousands of Home Office decisions on an individual’s status have been declared unsound. – the initial decision found to be wrong and reversed on appeal. In 2005, 13,221 decisions were declared unsound. In 2010 , 35,563 decisions and in 2015, 17,581.

When I get the numbers for the intervening years it could be that there have been a quarter of a million wrong decisions by the Home Office in the last ten years!! A QUARTER OF A MILLION!! If these folk hadn’t gone to appeal they could have been wrongly deported!

Imagine trying to plan the next move. No helpful legal advice. Penniless. The heartache. And all because of a decision that was overturned on appeal. Something is seriously wrong.

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Schedule 7 of the Immigration Act 2016

Britain is a nation with a dubious imperial past and a rather selective memory; one that has forced open the doors of countries the world over while continuing to close its own, bringing us to the latest measure to be implemented with a view to creating the ‘hostile environment,’ that Mrs May envisages will ‘incentivise voluntary departure,’ of ‘disqualified persons,’ Schedule 7 of the 2016 Immigration Act seeks to supplement section 40 of its 2014 predecessor in precluding banks and building societies from opening current accounts for ‘disqualified persons.’

What’s new about the latest Act, however, is its retrospective effect; in …

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The Calais ‘Jungle’ One Year On

Today marks one year since the makeshift refugee camp in Calais known as the ‘Jungle’ was demolished.

Three weeks after becoming leader I got to visit the Jungle for myself, and the experience was both eye-opening and heart-breaking. The word ‘jungle’ is actually not an appropriate or accurate description of what these desperate people had built for themselves. It was more like a city. It sprawled for miles. Conditions were grim, but it was amazing to see the strength and grit of the people living there, despite the unimaginable situation they had …

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Tim Farron and Sally Hamwee speak out against £20 a week cuts to asylum seekers’ support

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The Conservatives and asylum seekers

Anti-immigrant feeling is one of the oldest prejudices in the book. We have rightly come to expect to hear it with wearying regularity from the right-wing press and certain parts of the Conservative party.  But there is something different about the latest round of comments and policy proposals from Theresa May and co – something darker and altogether more troubling.

Until now, even the Conservatives, who have attacked ‘economic’ migrants (including students) with every kind of financial and regulatory penalty imaginable since 2010, have maintained an attitude of respect towards asylum seekers and refugees. ‘Britain has a proud and historic tradition …

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Tim Farron calls for a bit of compassion in the Calais debate

Tim Farron has made the following comment on the Calais issue:

If you don’t give people hope, they will resort to desperate measures. We are treating this as a security issue, but primarily it is a humanitarian one.

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Lord Roger Roberts writes… We must abolish the Azure card now

Azure_card_thumbRefused asylum seekers are being forced to endure destitution and humiliation at the hands of the Azure card. Together with the Red Cross, I am calling for the government to put an end to this cruel and unusual system.

On the 20th of November the House of Lords will debate the Azure card. I ask my colleagues and other noble members not to remain silent on this issue.

Posted in Op-eds | 6 Comments

Lib Dems need to stick their head above the parapet on immigration and asylum seekers #slfconf

Immigration breakout Social Liberal Forum conference Jul 19 2014 Photo by Paul WalterLiberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary held a thoughtful and impassioned break-out session at the Social Liberal Forum conference today.

Suzanne Fletcher gave some interesting updates from her key involvement in the recent policy working party on Immigration, Asylum and Social Cohesion. Suzanne stressed how important it is for policy-makers to get their terminology right. Illegal immigrants get mixed up with asylum seekers. Asylum seekers get confused with refugees. Deportation gets conflated with removal. It’s not just the Daily Mail …

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Liberal Democrat peers support asylum seekers’ right to work

Advocates disrupt transfer of asylum seekers from VillawoodThe Immigration Bill is currently going through its final stages in the House of Lords. On Thursday, Liberal Democrat peers, led by Roger Roberts, tried to amend it by inserting a clause which would have entitled asylum seekers to work after 6 months.

Roger told me that he was not able to press the amendment to a vote because it received no support from either Labour or Conservative front benches. This, he felt, was grossly unfair given George Osborne’s desire for full employment and Labour’s …

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  • User AvatarAnthony Acton 15th Dec - 3:02pm
    It's a narrow point, but the way the BBC and Fiona Bruce set Jo Swinson up with that rigged Question Time audience still rankles. Jo...
  • User AvatarTony Greaves 15th Dec - 2:55pm
    What a wholly inappropriate statement by someone holding the title of Director of Campaigns and Elections after what in my considered judgement is the worst...
  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 15th Dec - 2:52pm
    @Martin What kind of world do you live in? It’s not me blaming the EU. Crikey, its parent, the old EEC, together with the IMF...
  • User AvatarTom Harney 15th Dec - 2:49pm
    My question is this - is the Liberal Democrat party liberal? I was just reading our constitution, especially the bit about no one being enslaved...
  • User AvatarAndrew T 15th Dec - 2:48pm
    Another thing I might add is that the reason both Labour and the Lib Dems lost ground in terms of seats was former Labour voters...
  • User AvatarPeter 15th Dec - 2:32pm
    So, the main points are: don't blame the hard working volunteers, our lack of media coverage was the main problem and don't leave all the...
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