Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006

Consultation Exorcise

The Asylum and Immigration Bill and associated Social Security changes

Squall 13, Summer 1996, pg. 27.

• Amnesty International: “[The Bill] stems directly from a secretive - and therefore undemocratic - process aimed at the creation of a common, restrictive European Union asylum policy.” In addition Amnesty fears that “most EU governments seem increasingly preoccupied with reducing the number of refugees and asylum-seekers allowed to enter their territory, rather than with ensuring respect for the fundamental principles of refugee protection.”

• Refugee Council: “If the Government wants to reduce costs, it should introduce a fair and efficient method of determining asylum applications, based on humanitarian principles.”

• Church of Scotland: “The asylum system is permeated with harshness.” The Church urges “Church members to oppose legislation that supports this system” including helping those facing deportation. It has also opened up Churches for refugees

• Prisoners of Conscience: “The effects of the new social security regulations are creating an emergency situation. In about October there will be an explosion of people who have made in-country applications.”

• Social Security Advisory Committee: in its report to Social Security Secretary Peter Lilley categorically stated that the draft regulations were “arbitrary and unjust” and would have “drastic and unwelcome consequences” for “some of the most vulnerable and defenceless in our society”. They advised “faster and more efficient asylum procedures” instead

• Nadir Dinshaw, Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants: “The Social Security Regulations and...Asylum & Immigration Bill are two particularly squalid acts of a particularly squalid Government. ”

• The Bishop of Liverpool, David Sheppard: “A major motive in introducing this bill was to run up a signal that Britain has a harsh regime which will make it difficult for asylum seekers to find refuge here; in other words, to stop them applying at all.”