Mailing from BTUC to Delegates:
We’re writing to you in response to the threat posed to our members, families and communities posed by the Nationality and Borders Bill.
As the latest in a series of authoritarian moves by the Government, this Bill will essentially make it impossible for people to legally claim asylum. It legalises the deadly “pushbacks”, which permit the Border Force to turn people away as they attempt to reach safety in the UK, in violation of international maritime law. This legislation is not only threatening those seeking protection in the UK. One clause in the Bill will empower the government to strip the citizenship of naturalised British citizens without their knowledge. This could affect many members of your branches, their families as well as countless others in your local community.
As trade union activists and members of the labour movement, it’s important that we use every possible avenue to publicly oppose this racist Bill, in solidarity with people seeking asylum, refugees and migrant workers.
The Bill is now in the House of Lords, with a committee stage reading on the 27th of January (see: https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/3023/stages). As such, we would urge you to liaise with members of your branch and others in your community to campaign on why this Bill is so devastating and why it must be opposed!
In terms of ways to campaign as a branch:
- Please try to get the model motion (below) passed in your branches
- There are also template letters below, which can be sent to MPs and peers. If you don’t know who your MP is, see https://www.theyworkforyou.com/. In terms of peers, we suggest targeting the Bishop of Birmingham as he is not currently known to hold anti-immigration views. You can find other peers here: https://members.parliament.uk/members/lords
- Spread the word about this legislation, via social media and/or direct correspondence with your members
- Find and support local organisations working to assist those who are likely to be most affected by this legislation (e.g. ASIRT Immigration and Asylum Support; Birmingham Refugee and Asylum Solidarity; Birmingham Asylum and Refugee Association; The GAP Arts Project; Journey LGBT+ Asylum Seekers; St Chads Sanctuary; Brushstrokes Community Project, among others)
We have also attached a leaflet that was produced by Communities and Trade Unions Campaign to Protect British Citizen’s Rights, prior to a Press Conference at Birmingham Central Mosque in relation to this Bill.https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85877974742?pwd=VGo0NGMrUWxJU1JZbFRUTnJ0ZXpCdz09There is a Zoom meeting of the campaign on Thursday 20 January at 7pm:
Meeting ID: 858 7797 4742, Passcode: 771165
Should you have any questions about any of the above, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Farheen Ahmed and Kirsten Forkert
Birmingham Trades Union Council Anti-Racist Officer & Birmingham Trades Union Council EC Member 2022
This branch notes:
- The trade union movement has a long, proud tradition of standing in solidarity with migrants, people seeking asylum and refugees.
- The government’s Nationality and Borders Bill is a racist, divisive proposed legislation, especially targeting racialised people and communities in Birmingham.
- Clause Nine of the Bill makes it legal to strip the citizenship of potentially millions of British citizens without notice.
- Instead of seeking to rectify the significant harms caused to the Windrush generation and Black British communities, this proposed legislation merely echoes these ongoing injustices and risks even further harm to our communities.
- According to data analysed by the New Statesman, two in five people from BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) backgrounds could become eligible to be deprived of their citizenship without warning and around 6 million people could be at risk of having their British nationality revoked.
- The Bill is also a flagrant attack on the rights of refugees who potentially face a four-year prison term for not entering the UK directly from a country of persecution. If these refugees are granted asylum, it will only be under the guise of ‘temporary protection’ which will need to be regularly renewed, resulting in individuals being kept in a constant status of limbo.
- Birmingham declared itself to be a City of Sanctuary in 2015 (https://birmingham.cityofsanctuary.org/)
This branch calls:
- For members to write to peers based in our locality in the House of Lords to throw out this racist, divisive, anti-refugee, anti-human rights legislation;
- For members to write to their local MPs, to express their concerns about this draconian piece of legislation;
- For the executive committee to write to Birmingham City Council to uphold the values of Bimingham being a City of Sanctuary by proactively opposing this Bill and supporting those who will face the brunt of such legislation;
- For members to actively support active campaigns working to directly support those at risk of further persecution and hardship as a result of this Bill.