23 February 2003 saw over 100 asylum rights campaigners and supporters lobbying parliament as the Asylum and Immigration bill was being debated in parliament.
Campaigners heard from Jeremy Corbyn MP – ‘I feel constantly disgusted at the way we treat asylum seekers… the most serious part of this bill is the removal of rights of review’, Caroline Lucas MEP – ‘an appalling piece of legislation on humanitarian and legal grounds’, Hugo Charlton (Green Party) – ‘Institionalised authoritarianism’, Tauhid Pasha (Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants) – ‘the government has successfully managed to delineate asylum seekers as separate…Identifying them with criminals by electronically tagging them’.
The new bill includes measures which
- remove the right of appeal of an adjudicator’s decision in a Immigration Appeal tribunal (clause 11),
- criminalise asylum seekers who arrive in the UK with no passport or are in possession of a false one (clause 2),
- allow for electronic tagging of asylum seekers (clause 16),
- allow ‘removals’ of asylum seekers to a safe third country before their asylum claims are decided (clause 13),
- withdraw accommodation and financial support from families whose asylum appeals have been dismissed (clause 7).