Discriminatory, Unlawful and Unjust: The Nationality Bill and a Decadent Britain
We spoke to a Black British source, (false name provided) who’s experienced this prejudice first hand
Discriminatory, unlawful, and unjust: just three ways of describing the inhumane alterations made towards the latest Nationality and Boarders Bill. Adapted by the British Nationality Act in 1981, The Nationality and Boarders Bill was originally referred to as an act of last resort, in protection against terrorists, extremists and spies entering the UK, with asylum seekers somehow finding themselves wrongfully falling into this category. As it stands The Nationality and Borders Bill is currently run by the hands of Home Secretary Priti Patel and Baroness Williams of Trafford Susan Williams. Threatening a nation of ethnic minorities, Priti Patel opened clause 9, a new legislation enabling UK citizens to have their citizenship revoked without notification. To many, an arbitrary and cold-blooded way of handling supposed asylum threat and criminal activity, but a “fundamental change,” in the eyes of Priti Patel.
Right now, the bill has fully surpassed the House of Commons and is in the committee stage at the House of Lords. On Friday 7th January Britons took their rage further, as images showed hundreds protesting outside parliament in fury at this inhuman bill. Since then, clause 9 of the nationality bill was further updated on January 9th with a speech from Priti Patel exclaiming: “our bill will bring new comprehensive, firm but fair, a long-term plan that seeks to address the challenge of illegal migration head on.” It’s reported that asylum seekers who entered the U.K. by illegal means will now see a staggering four-year prison sentence, as opposed to the previously disclosed 6 months. We spoke to a Black British source, (false name provided) who’s experienced this prejudice first hand. Speaking upon the matter, Lara expresses her frustration:
“As someone born to immigrant parents I feel like my position here as a British citizen is insecure and subject to the whims of the government who feel free to violate individual’s human rights and proceed unchecked.”
"This bill and the general attitude of the government under their hostile environment legislation is to deem anyone with parents born in countries outside of the UK as ‘not quite British enough’ to not be rendered stateless should they see fit. It gives them carte blanche to pick and choose whose full human rights they recognise according to the individual's ancestral lineage regardless of if they were born here, naturalised, or even if they have a potential claim to citizenship in another country, no matter how tenuous/precarious that may be. If this bill passes through the House of Lords they won’t even have to give people notice of their citizenship being stripped making it harder for the person to appeal the decision.”
We saw how the conservative party handled the devastating drowning of the 20+ migrants who attempted to cross the channel from France to the UK in December last year. A callous and extremely low point, as the conservative party once again showed no compassion or remorse for the deaths of human beings, due to their inhumane regulations surrounding migration control. With clause 9 now having an even wider impact on the nationality bill than before, millions of black and Asian UK citizens are in seriously threatening times right now. In December 2021 reports showed an estimated 2/5 people of ethnic minority being at risk of arbitrarily losing their citizenship without warning. People of colour around the UK are in great danger right now, as Priti Patel urges to push a law that in no means seeks to address an issue, rather fast track a way of depositing it somewhere else. If you’re no longer in the country, you’re no longer their problem. But what does this mean if you’re merely innocent? How can you fight your claim, if you’ve been revoked citizenship without prior warning and indication of what for? According to this new bill, it shouldn’t be a requirement to tell you, better yet, if the government doesn't find it, “reasonably practical.” It all feels completely surreal.
As it stands, under the Home Office there is currently no right of appeal. Those under the threat of this law, can instead apply for an administrative review. However, this is only eligible if there has been a mistake with said person's citizenship investigation. Not enabling the right to appeal is said to, “prevent abuse of the system,” in other words restrain accessibility to defend your own human rights. Which brings me to emphasise just how life threatening this is for people of colour right now. Those holding dual citizenship face even graver danger. Regardless of whether they’re british-born, those with dual citizenship could face being deported to a country that they’ve never even visited. The Tory party can paint this as a new and reformed Britain all they want, and argue that it’s for the greater good of the majority, but in the real world, clause 9 of the Nationality and Borders Bill is a textbook example of racial discrimination, and a hateful attack against one’s human rights. Urging her own concern towards how the government seek to act upon those with dual citizenships, Lara exclaims:
“I don’t currently have dual citizenship, and to be honest, despite my parents having been born outside of the UK, I’m not sure if I would be entitled to apply for citizenship in their respective home countries either. I’ve never even set foot in their home countries.”
In no circumstance should anyone fear the validity of their citizenship, under this new law, those without dual citizenship could be at risk of becoming marked as stateless. Statistics in December last year showed that this new bill puts a staggering amount of 410,000 British born citizens at risk, a sad and unimaginable reality that we’re currently living in. In an interview with Michael Walker, immigration barrister Alastair Mackenzie disclosed that the Tories had initially tried to pass this new legislation in secret but were informed by the high court that they had to bring it forward – talk about red flags. If our government is planning on trying to pass something in secret, chances are, they know just how malicious and inhumane it is, but as per usual, because it doesn’t and won’t affect themselves or their families, they have no desire to put a halt to it. Whilst the removal of British citizenship has been around for a century, this new clause sees the government facilitate an enormous amount of power and use this against our own will. Between the mistreatment of helpless asylum seekers, to their own UK born citizens, the conservative party are desperate to take matters to an unlawful degree, and mask it as a time to seek a reformed Britain.
“Even though anyone with a potential claim to citizenship in any other country is at risk, this bill will definitely disproportionately affect people of colour even if they were born here.”
Lara urges, continuing:
“We’re still seeing the ongoing effects of the Windrush scandal, and many people are still bearing the repercussions of the initial hostile environment policies. This adds yet another level to the precarity of citizenship and immigration status in a country becoming increasingly hostile to perceived ‘outsiders’, and those labelled as such are usually also people of colour and anyone not considered to be ‘indigenous’ to the UK, regardless of if their familial background can be traced to former/current colonies under what was once the British Empire.”
We saw them arbitrarily detain and deport black citizens in the 2018 Windrush scandal, we saw them carelessly neglect and alienate the clearly groomed Shamima Begum, it is clear the conservative party have no desire to protect ethnic minorities within the UK, and it’s all a bit too contradictory coming from a home secretary whose parents emigrated to Uganda. A prime example of institutionalised racism working its magic here: Priti Patel is callously pleasing and supporting a system that has historically shown no concern towards her own ethnicity.
Article written by Laviea Thomas
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