Changes in Us Immigration Policy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:00 pm on 30th January 2017.

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Photo of Kirsten Oswald Kirsten Oswald Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Armed Forces and Veterans) 8:00 pm, 30th January 2017

What an extraordinary few days these have been, and what an unedifying tack this Government have taken. Every Member of this House will no doubt have heard from large numbers of their constituents who are appalled and concerned, and I am sorry that when the Foreign Secretary had the opportunity to respond earlier, he chose to minimise those concerns. The events in America are alarming. Even in the very recent past, it would have been utterly impossible to imagine this happening. The values that this Government tell us they espouse have been utterly lacking in the statements they have made, and where is the global leadership that they speak of?

If the special relationship is worth a jot, the UK Government should be using it to their full advantage. This Executive order is disgraceful. It is racist, inhumane and dangerous, yet the Foreign Secretary told us earlier that it did not discriminate against Muslims and that it did not constitute President Trump’s promised ban on Muslims. That is frankly ridiculous. What on earth will it take to make this Government really speak out, and why has the Prime Minister so failed to do so? We have heard today that the Prime Minister might in fact have known about the Executive order before it was put in place. We have no idea whether the Foreign Secretary knew, because he repeatedly sidestepped that question here today. If the Prime Minister was aware of this disgraceful, racist Executive order before it was published, and her reaction was simply to say that it was a matter for the USA and, astonishingly, to invite President Trump for a state visit, that is utterly shameful.

To add to the many concerns that people already had about President Trump’s thoughts on groups including women, Mexicans and people concerned about climate change, he has now brought this order to bear. We have responded by looking the other way and inviting him for a state visit. It utterly beggars belief that that is the Government’s priority, when the Executive order is clearly so wrong and so illogical and has such horrible implications for the Muslims caught up in it, for those in peril who would have sought sanctuary and for people all over the world who are going to be affected by this order fostering Islamophobia. This is a disgraceful state of affairs.

To conclude, the national security arguments of the Trump Administration are simply wrong; they are nonsense. Rather than keeping America safer, this measure will make us all much less safe. A state visit in these circumstances is just not appropriate. Let us not look away from what is happening. We say that all the time in this place. Now, let us actually have the guts to stand up to this terrible, dangerous policy. We must do this.