The flame that Trump had ignited against immigrants in the US, seems to have reached the United Kingdom. The Nationality and Borders Bill, which is now at the stage of final considerations, is being widely criticized by civil liberty groups who argue that it would create a “police state” while the government is pushing it in the name of national security.
Why you may ask?
Well, once the Nationality and Borders Bill is passed, the British government will have the right to remove someone’s citizenship without informing them under the pretense that it is necessary to protect the safety and security of Britishers. The Bill has been controversial, with critics arguing that it would be a violation of human rights and that it would not be effective in combating terrorism.
What it will definitely do is make it very difficult for asylum seekers escaping wars to settle in the UK. In the past few weeks, millions of Ukrainians have become refugees, seeking shelter from the war in other countries without safe routes to reach the UK. Asylum seekers from other countries such as Syria and Afghanistan have also been deprived of safe routes to an asylum by the UK immigration regime. This bill does nothing to help them – in fact, it will make it even harder for them to seek sanctuary in the UK.
But what led the UK government to take such an extreme step?
The Nationality and Borders Bill was conceptualized in light of recent incidences of terrorism like that of Shamima Begum, a British-born who woman traveled to Syria to join the Islamic State organization in 2015. In 2019, her citizenship was canceled due to security concerns. Bangladesh refuted Britain’s accusation that Shamima had dual citizenship with them.
Everyone has the right to nationality under international law, including the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, therefore people cannot be rendered stateless “unreasonably.” However, with this Bill in play, the British government claims that persons can be stripped of their citizenship if they have another nationality to reduce reliance on, such as dual citizenship or the ability to get citizenship in another country, such as the country of their parents’ birth. As a result of the new law, the government will no longer be required to notify citizens when their citizenship is being revoked.
The government unequivocally maintains that the Bill is necessary in order to combat terrorism and protect its borders. Minority groups, especially South Asians, however, fear that if the Bill is passed, they will be treated as “second-class citizens.” More than 20 organizations, including the Muslim Association of Britain, the Sikh Council UK, and Windrush Lives, have expressed just that. They claim that a scenario like Shamima Begum would never happen to a white British citizen because they would be ineligible for citizenship anywhere else.
Popular British actor, Riz Ahmed spoke out against the Bill, calling it “shameful, unethical, and racist.” The lead antagonist of MCU’s ‘Venom’ took to social media to express his displeasure with the new legislation. He said that such a law is meant to create an “atmosphere of fear” for non-white British Muslims like himself and many others.
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This legislation is a product of the UK’s political environment which has become increasingly hostile towards migrants and refugees.
What you can you do to help fight against the Bill?
Just your average friendly neighborhood guy who is in a complicated relationship with coffee ☕️. Karma believer. Enjoy your life or else life will enjoy you.