Nationality and Borders Bill

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Fishnut
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Nationality and Borders Bill

Post by Fishnut » Wed Jul 07, 2021 10:02 am

Priti Patel has announced her New Plan for Immigration.

The bill can be found here.

Free Movement have a good breakdown of the bill (h/t to Disco for finding this source):
...first impressions, reading through the Bill, are that
- A lot of it is already law so it isn’t actually very new at all.
- The bits that are new are likely to lead to a lot of uncertainty and litigation, which is good for lawyers but bad for refugees and the public purse.
- There is some genuine nastiness included.
- The Bill will only worsen the problems with the United Kingdom’s current asylum system.
It's a relatively small thing, but it's worth noting that the bill will make it a criminal act to help an asylum seeker to get into the UK, even if you don't do it for financial gain. The RNLI has recently attracted right-wing ire for rescuing asylum seekers, somehow missing that they rescue people who are at sea and need helping, regardless of their nationality or why they are at sea. This bill could criminalise their work. From the Free Movement breakdown,
While someone working for an organisation that “aims to assist asylum-seekers” cannot be charged with this offence, someone who works for a more general-purpose charity like the RNLI and who helps an asylum seeker enter the UK may, on the face of it, be criminalised by this change.
If you have money, please consider donating to organisations supporting asylum seekers and fighting this bill. And drop the RNLI a few quid if you can too. If anyone has any ideas for meaningful action that doesn't involve donations or writing to your MP please suggest them. My MP will be fully supporting this bill and I've had enough back-and-forths with his secretary to know she acts as an excellent gatekeeper and keeps this sort of 'trivia' off his desk.
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Re: Nationality and Borders Bill

Post by Fishnut » Wed Jul 07, 2021 10:11 am

YouGov have some typically depressing data on the public's views of the bill,
Screenshot 2021-07-07 at 11.10.32.png
Screenshot 2021-07-07 at 11.10.32.png (106.22 KiB) Viewed 603 times
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Re: Nationality and Borders Bill

Post by noggins » Wed Jul 07, 2021 12:03 pm

:o how can people be so f.cking stupid?

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Re: Nationality and Borders Bill

Post by Fishnut » Wed Jul 07, 2021 12:19 pm

I'm no expert but I think people being busy in their lives and not having time, inclination or the expertise to really look into many subjects, plus they've spent the last 20+ years being told that asylum seekers are all illegal and want to come here because we're a soft touch, combined with a complicit press that acts more as stenographers for the government than as the fourth estate holding them accountable.
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Re: Nationality and Borders Bill

Post by TopBadger » Wed Jul 07, 2021 12:30 pm

FWIW I don't think that the RNLI are at risk of being prosecuted... that is beyond daft.
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Re: Nationality and Borders Bill

Post by Fishnut » Wed Jul 07, 2021 1:08 pm

TopBadger wrote:
Wed Jul 07, 2021 12:30 pm
FWIW I don't think that the RNLI are at risk of being prosecuted... that is beyond daft.
It may be daft, but the law as it's being written leaves them open to that possibility. It's likely that no-one would push to prosecute, but that doesn't mean the risk isn't there. The law, if accepted, means that anyone who helps someone come to the UK to claim asylum is at risk of prosecution. As this tweet points out, if you pay for someone's plane ticket to the UK where they want to claim asylum, you'll be breaking the law. And we know that the law doesn't turn a blind eye to these sorts of things. Dignity in Dying has many stories of family members who accompany loved ones to Dignitas in Swizerland and then face months or even years of investigation into whether they broke the law by assisting in their suicide. Those investigations rarely come to anything, but that doesn't mean it doesn't cause major stress and upheaval for people, and has a chilling effect on those who want to end their lives. I have no reason to think things won't operate similarly here - sure, they're unlike to go after the RNLI, but they may well go after someone who helps a gay person try to leave Saudi Arabia.
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Re: Nationality and Borders Bill

Post by Aitch » Wed Jul 07, 2021 1:15 pm

TopBadger wrote:
Wed Jul 07, 2021 12:30 pm
FWIW I don't think that the RNLI are at risk of being prosecuted... that is beyond daft.
Not by the CPS (or whatever they are called these days) but what's to stop some rabid Mail reader bringing a private prosecution of some sort?
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Re: Nationality and Borders Bill

Post by noggins » Wed Jul 07, 2021 1:50 pm

I would like to think that the RNLI being prosecuted would be thrown out by any judge and if not, would be nullified by any jury.

Instead, the possibility of prosecution would have a chilling effect on less dramatic cases in greyer areas.

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Re: Nationality and Borders Bill

Post by IvanV » Wed Jul 07, 2021 2:24 pm

There is a sorry record of the government passing acts, stating they are for a particular Good Purpose, and saying they won't be used for anything else. But then the law is there, policemen and lawyers and judges read it, and then enforce what it appears to say. And what they said in the house is not evidence in this country, although it is in others, and only on rare occasion have judges found it appropriate to pay it attention.

Thus the Twitter Joke trial was based on a law that was supposed to be about the electronic communication of blackmail - thugs demanding with menaces - by using electronic/media methods. But it has been widely, indeed mainly, been used outside that context, to controll trolling and the like, and, notoriously, an obviously jokey "I'll blow them sky high", which is not very different from the "I'll put a bomb under your chair" various schoolteachers used to use to express their frustration with their charges at schools I attended.

The Twitter Joke Trial was overturned, I think, on second appeal. Indeed I think the prosecution didn't even turn up to the second appeal, as they could see by then which way it was going. But that didn't end it. The law itself continues mainly to be used for policing trolling, etc, which was, according to those who introduced it, never its purpose. And almost never for its intended purpose. And few people have had the persistence, backing and knowledge to resist its application.

So it is very important to say "this law will be used for this evil purpose". Because if it can be so used, it probably will be.

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Re: Nationality and Borders Bill

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Jul 07, 2021 2:30 pm

And while I admire the faith some of you have that something as absurd as prosecuting the RNLI for rescuing drowning asylum seekers "couldn't happen here", I don't share it - it's hard to imagine what might be too stupid/horrible for the UK these days, let alone in a few years.

And do bear in mind that NGOs have been prosecuted for rescuing drowning migrants in the Med, so it's hardly far-fetched. https://www.theguardian.com/news/2020/s ... vini-italy
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Re: Nationality and Borders Bill

Post by noggins » Wed Jul 07, 2021 5:02 pm

No i dont think this government or the next is stupid or horrible enough to prosecute the RNLI. What they want is the ability to prosecute the RNLI on the books so they can very definitely sh.t on someone less popular.

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Re: Nationality and Borders Bill

Post by tom p » Thu Jul 08, 2021 8:44 am

noggins wrote:
Wed Jul 07, 2021 5:02 pm
No i dont think this government or the next is stupid or horrible enough to prosecute the RNLI. What they want is the ability to prosecute the RNLI on the books so they can very definitely sh.t on someone less popular.
If you think that there is a depth to which they will not stoop, then I don't think you've been paying attention.
Either way, it's not about prosecuting the RNLI, it's about providing a chilling effect. Same as section 28. You don't need to bring prosecutions, you need to frighten an organisation's lawyers & you need to frighten the people on the front line.

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Re: Nationality and Borders Bill

Post by bagpuss » Thu Jul 08, 2021 9:14 am

tom p wrote:
Thu Jul 08, 2021 8:44 am
noggins wrote:
Wed Jul 07, 2021 5:02 pm
No i dont think this government or the next is stupid or horrible enough to prosecute the RNLI. What they want is the ability to prosecute the RNLI on the books so they can very definitely sh.t on someone less popular.
If you think that there is a depth to which they will not stoop, then I don't think you've been paying attention.
Either way, it's not about prosecuting the RNLI, it's about providing a chilling effect. Same as section 28. You don't need to bring prosecutions, you need to frighten an organisation's lawyers & you need to frighten the people on the front line.
Very much this.

Section 28 was the first thing to come to my mind, too. It doesn't matter how many times people might say that it wasn't intended to have the effect it did, that effect was entirely predictable, and indeed predicted. Laws don't have to be enforced to make it so that good people and organisations change what they do, because they fear that enforcement or just because they quite reasonably don't think they should break the law, or be seen to break the law. They might decide that the humanitarian necessity means that they should not and will not change what they do (and how the hell could the RNLI change that? Do they turn up to rescue people desperately clinging to an upturned boat, having lost whatever little they had that they're not wearing, and demand their passports and visas?) but you can be sure that they will be having many difficult discussions and taking legal advice and making decisions that they shouldn't need to be wasting valuable time and money on, at the very least.

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Re: Nationality and Borders Bill

Post by noggins » Thu Jul 08, 2021 10:52 am

I wondered - is it possible to undermine a draconian law, by privately prosecuting a clearly ridiculous, unjust, but letter-of-the-law case ?

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Re: Nationality and Borders Bill

Post by Sciolus » Thu Jul 08, 2021 11:35 am

noggins wrote:
Thu Jul 08, 2021 10:52 am
I wondered - is it possible to undermine a draconian law, by privately prosecuting a clearly ridiculous, unjust, but letter-of-the-law case ?
Ivan has answered that in this thread. No.

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Re: Nationality and Borders Bill

Post by Woodchopper » Thu Jul 08, 2021 11:58 am

Fishnut wrote:
Wed Jul 07, 2021 1:08 pm
TopBadger wrote:
Wed Jul 07, 2021 12:30 pm
FWIW I don't think that the RNLI are at risk of being prosecuted... that is beyond daft.
It may be daft, but the law as it's being written leaves them open to that possibility. It's likely that no-one would push to prosecute, but that doesn't mean the risk isn't there. The law, if accepted, means that anyone who helps someone come to the UK to claim asylum is at risk of prosecution. As this tweet points out, if you pay for someone's plane ticket to the UK where they want to claim asylum, you'll be breaking the law. And we know that the law doesn't turn a blind eye to these sorts of things. Dignity in Dying has many stories of family members who accompany loved ones to Dignitas in Swizerland and then face months or even years of investigation into whether they broke the law by assisting in their suicide. Those investigations rarely come to anything, but that doesn't mean it doesn't cause major stress and upheaval for people, and has a chilling effect on those who want to end their lives. I have no reason to think things won't operate similarly here - sure, they're unlike to go after the RNLI, but they may well go after someone who helps a gay person try to leave Saudi Arabia.
I don't know the answer, but as to whether the RNLI sailors could be prosecuted one issue would be whether they were aware that the rescued person was trying to go to the UK to claim asylum. The examples you mention appear to involve people who knowingly provide assistance. Someone in a lifeboat likely doesn't know the identity or the intentions of whoever they are rescuing. Whether they could be found guilty would depend upon how the law written.

Even if they couldn't be prosecuted if they didn't know, there is still the problem of what happens if the refugee tells them on the way back to dry land. Are they supposed to chuck the refugee out of the boat? Or continue knowing that they are now breaking the law?

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Re: Nationality and Borders Bill

Post by Woodchopper » Thu Jul 08, 2021 12:03 pm

The whole RNLI issue could be a deliberate distraction by Patel.

1. Introduce a bill with a lot of nasty sh.t, including some ludicrously nasty sh.t.
2. Outrage erupts about the ludicrously nasty sh.t.
3. Make a 'concession' which removes the most ludicrous nasty sh.t.
4. The rest of the nasty sh.t sails through parliament.

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Re: Nationality and Borders Bill

Post by noggins » Thu Jul 08, 2021 12:18 pm

Sciolus wrote:
Thu Jul 08, 2021 11:35 am
noggins wrote:
Thu Jul 08, 2021 10:52 am
I wondered - is it possible to undermine a draconian law, by privately prosecuting a clearly ridiculous, unjust, but letter-of-the-law case ?
Ivan has answered that in this thread. No.
Not really. Why didnt the Twitter joke trial set a precedent and thereby prevent later sinilar prosecutions?

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Re: Nationality and Borders Bill

Post by Fishnut » Thu Jul 08, 2021 12:59 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Thu Jul 08, 2021 12:03 pm
The whole RNLI issue could be a deliberate distraction by Patel.
It's certainly worked a treat here. The bill is 87 pages long, of which the changing of the wording to criminalise anyone helping an asylum seeker is a single subclause (38(2) if anyone's interested).

Honestly, I kinda regret mentioning it now. The bill has so much other awful stuff in it. For example (from the Free Movement analysis I linked to originally),
Clause 11 allows for differential provision of accommodation to asylum seekers depending on the stage of their claim and their compliance with various conditions. This makes it look like asylum camps like the Napier barracks will be used as a form of punishment for asylum seekers who travel via safe third countries or do not comply with conditions. Again, there does not seem to be any particular need for this to be in an Act of Parliament as the Home Secretary could already do this and indeed has been doing this. However, clause 15 seems to make an asylum camp the only form of accommodation to which some asylum seekers will be entitled.
For anyone who doesn't remember, Napier Barracks are the former army barracks that have been used to house asylum seekers. They were found to be "cramped", "dirty" and those at risk of self-harm were put in a "decrepit ‘isolation block’ which we considered unfit for habitation" (because the best way to help people suffering from mental distress is to isolate them from everyone :roll: ) according to a government inspection published in March of this year. The High Court determined that the accommodation failed to meet the minimum required standard for housing which has led to calls for the barracks to be closed down. However, seems this bill would be making this sort of accommodation obligatory rather than a last resort.

The Bill would also allow the government to increase fees for visas or simply block them for visitors from countries who are believed to be refusing to take back rejected asylum seekers or offenders. This is so incredibly petty that I could quite easily believe this was one of Patel's own ideas.

It will also have "rigorous age assessments" to catch adults pretending they're children. You might see statistics floating around that 65% of people claiming to be children are actual adults, but as you'll hopefully be unsurprised to learn, that's not true. Full Fact found that this figure relates not to the proportion of child refugees, but the number of unaccompanied minors whose age is questioned by authorities.
“Home Office data indicated that between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017 it had received 2,952 applications for asylum from unaccompanied children.

“In the same period, it had raised 705 age disputes, roughly 1 in 4.

“Of the 705, 618 had been resolved. In 216 (35%) of these 618 cases, the Local Authority assessed the claimant to be under 18, and in 402 (65%) cases they were assessed to be over 18 (an adult).”
I will admit to not knowing much about ageing, other than knowing that stress and deprivation take their toll. A kid who's had to trek across Europe, sleeping rough or in refugee camps for months on end after having left their home because it was blown up and their relatives killed is likely going to look a lot older and more world-weary than a kid whose only worries are A-levels. And while I appreciate there are markers in terms of bone growth, wisdom teeth eruption, etc, that can help age someone, I would want to see evidence that these are reliable and accurate when used on children who have experienced the sort of deprivation, stress and changes in diet that a kid seeking asylum by themselves has experienced. It's one of those areas where my bleeding-heart leftie thinks we'd be better to err on the side of caution and assess them as under 18 - even if they aren't what's the loss? They get a year of school and a foster home? Oh no, how terrible!

Reading the Free Movement analysis it seems that the most useless legislation is cribbed from other countries. For example,
Clause 29 is terrible: it introduces a split standard of proof in asylum cases and, possibly, a requirement for subjective fear. This looks inspired by the approach in the United States.
The piece goes on to say that this has been settled law since the House of Lords case of Sivakumaran in 1987 so all this is going to do is lead to a load of unnecessary litigation until an inevitable Supreme Court Case but will lead to little practical change as judges aren't idiots (most of the time).

Likewise,
Some provisions on “good faith” at clauses 17 and 64 fall into the same category: lots of scope for litigating what it all means but will probably make no real difference in real life. There is a similar requirement in Australia, which is no doubt from where the idea comes.
Why they're bothering with these clauses when they have such little real-world impact is beyond me but ianal.

When it comes to human trafficking, for all the bluster about wanting to protect people it seems the reality will be the opposite (from the Free Movement analysis again),
there are provisions such as clause 48 designed to make it a bit more difficult for people to be recognised as victims. People will also be disqualified from trafficking protections not only if they are a “threat to public order”, but also if they have claimed to be a victim “in bad faith” (whatever that means).
As the
analysis concludes,
This Bill will lead to more delays and it punishes genuine refugees for having the temerity to come to seek sanctuary in our country rather than remain someone else’s responsibility.
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Re: Nationality and Borders Bill

Post by Fishnut » Thu Jul 08, 2021 1:12 pm

I forgot to add, because it's so crazy I can't quite believe it, that the bill is also proposing offshore detention for asylum seekers.

According to the Guardian,
Ascension Island, disused ferries and abandoned oil rigs have all been mooted in leaked reports as potential destinations considered in Whitehall for people seeking asylum in the UK.
Having been to Ascension island the idea that it would be in any way feasible as a place to house refugees is laughable. It's an 11 hour flight from Brize Norton. All the food is imported (iirc Tesco had laid claim to the Island, while Waitrose and Iceland had the Falklands). When I was there even the fruit salad we had for dessert was canned. God knows how much it would cost to staff and supply. It's also shared by the US as a military base and I'm not entirely sure they'd be happy with a load of refugees hanging round the place.

While the New York Times reports that,
The Times of London reported last week that representatives from the Home Office had met with Danish officials about potential cooperation at a processing center abroad, possibly in Rwanda, though that report has not been independently verified.
From the NYT,
Michelle Pace, a professor in global studies at Roskilde University in Denmark and an associate fellow at Chatham House, a British think tank, said, “From a purely legal position, there is no way that these plans can actually be implemented.”...

“So the question that we have to ask is — in the case of the U.K. — who is Priti Patel really addressing here?” Professor Pace said.
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Re: Nationality and Borders Bill

Post by Woodchopper » Thu Jul 08, 2021 1:27 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Thu Jul 08, 2021 1:12 pm
It's also shared by the US as a military base and I'm not entirely sure they'd be happy with a load of refugees hanging round the place.
Perhaps they could meet some of the people whose houses they'd bombed.

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Re: Nationality and Borders Bill

Post by IvanV » Thu Jul 08, 2021 1:59 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Thu Jul 08, 2021 1:12 pm
I forgot to add, because it's so crazy I can't quite believe it, that the bill is also proposing offshore detention for asylum seekers.
You might be horrified, but sadly it is all too believable, isn't it?

It gains the approval of certain voters. It distracts from other illiberal stuff they really do want to push through. Like the Northern Ireland Bridge, it doesn't even have to be remotely feasible.

Many thanks for your excellent commentaries on this.

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Re: Nationality and Borders Bill

Post by Fishnut » Thu Jul 08, 2021 2:33 pm

IvanV wrote:
Thu Jul 08, 2021 1:59 pm
Fishnut wrote:
Thu Jul 08, 2021 1:12 pm
I forgot to add, because it's so crazy I can't quite believe it, that the bill is also proposing offshore detention for asylum seekers.
You might be horrified, but sadly it is all too believable, isn't it?
Tbh most of my incredulity comes from the costs that would come from putting these sites overseas. As I say, Ascension Island is not exactly a cheap place to supply or staff. I could quite easily imagine them using old boats (nicely reminiscent of the Victorian hulks and we know this lot like a bit of Victorian morality) but actually shipping people overseas seems impossible just on the practicalities, rather than the moralities. It's another example of them trying to copy Australia.
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Re: Nationality and Borders Bill

Post by dyqik » Thu Jul 08, 2021 4:15 pm

Maybe they should use the Isle of Wight... ;)

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Re: Nationality and Borders Bill

Post by Gfamily » Thu Jul 08, 2021 5:08 pm

dyqik wrote:
Thu Jul 08, 2021 4:15 pm
Maybe they should use the Isle of Wight... ;)
Or the Isle of Thanet, though that might be considered inhumane.
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