Changes in Us Immigration Policy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:19 pm on 30th January 2017.

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Photo of Marion Fellows Marion Fellows SNP Whip 7:19 pm, 30th January 2017

I thank Edward Miliband and Nadhim Zahawi for securing the debate. It is a pleasure to follow Anna Soubry. I have followed her in other debates, but not on anything as important as this.

As a child, a long time ago, I listened to my parents with little understanding when they talked of their lived history. As an adult, I listened in shock to my father when he told me that he had helped to liberate a concentration camp. He told me that only once and never spoke of it again. In spite of the Foreign Secretary’s outrage at the repetition of references to the holocaust, I feel absolutely no shame in linking my family to what happened then and to what is happening now.

My grandchildren will wonder how I felt after this Executive order was signed and what effect it had on people in Scotland, the United Kingdom and across the world. I am able to record in Hansard that I feel fearful, upset, distressed and very, very angry. My condemnation of this vile act will matter little in the great scheme of things, but I expect the UK Government to utterly condemn this Executive order. I do not expect the Foreign Secretary to tell me, as the Foreign Secretary did, that he has mitigated it as far as UK passport holders are concerned. That is his duty. If this Government think that trade with the US matters more than the human rights of refugees and world citizens, then I feel even more affronted. If this Government want to be a world leader, they should show leadership and they should do it now.

I had the great privilege of helping Dr Ghaith Rukbi, a Syrian refugee resident in Lebanon, into my constituency. He spoke to and worked with local GPs to help to prepare them for more Syrian refugees who will be arriving shortly. If a wee place like Motherwell and Wishaw can take in Syrian refugees, what on earth is the United States doing with this order?

In the meantime, does the Minister agree with the former head of the CIA that this order will have national security implications for the UK and the wider world? It is important that we take this into consideration.

I do not agree that the state visit should take place, and I certainly do not agree that President Trump should be afforded the honour of addressing both Houses of Parliament.

Scotland and the US have a deep friendship based on shared values, and we must all speak up for those values, including tolerance, equality and providing for those in need. The Prime Minister must be clear about our obligations, both as a good global actor and under international law. It is important that we take them forward.

I will mention the contributions of only two hon. Members who have spoken. I was deeply moved by what Nadhim Zahawi said, and by the contribution of Naz Shah. That in no way lessens what other Members have said. The right hon. Member for Broxtowe is correct: we sometimes just become an echo chamber, but it is important that the word goes out from here. It is important that people take this to heart, and go out and increase tolerance and understanding right across all our constituencies.