On March 24, Home Secretary Priti Patel unveiled the government’s ‘New Plan for Immigration’ policy paper. It proposes that only people arriving to the UK through official routes, like resettlement schemes, will be permitted to settle in the UK permanently.
If put into place, this policy would deny refugee status to anyone who passes through a third ‘safe’ country before arrival to the UK.
Anyone who makes a clandestine journey to the UK will be granted a new ‘temporary protection status’.
This temporary status will make it nearly impossible for asylum seekers to build a new life in the UK. They will be assessed for removal every 30 months. They will have fewer rights to family reunion. And they will have no recourse to public funds except in cases of destitution.
Article 31 of the Refugee Convention states:
The New Plan fails to acknowledge that not everyone can enter the UK via a legal route.
Currently, only a very small proportion of refugees come to the UK through resettlement schemes. And, for many people, it is simply not possible to obtain a visa to travel.
How someone arrives here shouldn’t determine the validity of their claim. People fleeing for their lives do not have the luxury of choosing how they escape.
The New Plan talks about the importance of integration. But it also proposes accommodating asylum seekers who arrive through illegal routes in ‘reception centres’ while their claims are processed. Some asylum claims could be processed offshore.
This doesn’t add up.
Mears’ recent introduction of a mother and baby unit in Glasgow is indicative of a general move by the Home Office towards institutional accommodation for asylum seekers. The New Plan takes things one step further by completely segregating those seeking safety from communities.
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On November 8, a mural exploring Black motherhood was unveiled outside the Princess Royal Maternity Hospital in Glasgow. This mural is a public declaration of a commitment to racial equality and justice, and an invitation to continue to hold this hospital and others like it to account — to co-create a maternity system where everyone receives not just adequate care, but excellent care.
Amma Birth Companions has been awarded Maternity Service of Sanctuary status, recognising its support and welcome for people seeking sanctuary. The title, the first of its kind in Scotland, was awarded by City of Sanctuary UK, a nationally coordinated network of organisations and services, including councils, universities, theatres and libraries that welcome and support refugees and people seeking asylum.