Changes in Us Immigration Policy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:33 pm on 30th January 2017.

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Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper Chair, Home Affairs Committee, Chair, Home Affairs Committee 6:33 pm, 30th January 2017

There is a whole series of unanswered questions about what happens not just in the case of dual nationals or UK citizens, but EU citizens and other nationals who may be resident in the United Kingdom and want to travel to the United States.

The hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon described his personal experiences. I know that everyone in the House would want to stand with him against any sense of discrimination that he feels and wrongly faces. I think he would agree that, as he said powerfully, this is not simply about the rights of British citizens—it goes so much further and wider. It is about the shared values that have underpinned generations of co-operation between this country and one of our closest allies. Under our democracy and our common humanity, we have both built into our written and unwritten constitutions a condemnation of discrimination. We have worked together, over very many years, against prejudice and hatred, so it is deeply immoral for this ban to target Muslims in this way, and we should not be afraid to say so.

We have also worked together on international policy on refugees—to support the Geneva convention and the UN’s work, and to resettle refugees, including Syrian refugees from all over the world. The US has always played a historic role in resettling those refugees. For the United States to, in effect, pull out of the Geneva convention and that international co-operation is deeply damaging to a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees programme that all of us should want to champion. We should be prepared to speak out about that.

The ban also threatens our security. It is immediately counterproductive to prevent from entering the US those Iraqi citizens in the Iraqi Government and armed forces with whom the US may need to work in the fight against IS. Inevitably, the Iraqi Parliament has responded by saying that American citizens will be prevented from entering Iraq. We need these countries to work closely together, and with us, in order to defeat terrorist extremists. We should be fighting against them together, and not be divided.