Examination of Witnesses

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:17 pm on 9th June 2020.

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Bella Sankey:

I welcome the sentiment to use this moment to level up protections for people in the UK regardless of their skin colour. Unfortunately, though, what the Bill does is level down protections. As things stand, EU citizens have protections against deportation that have not been transferred into the Bill, so will no longer apply to EU citizens and will not apply to non-EEA nationals—predominantly black and brown people.

Similarly in our immigration detention system, there is nothing in the Bill to provide the kind of safeguards that EU citizens currently have against detention. We know that the system discriminates. If you are Australian and you are detained, 90% of Australians will be released before 28 days. If you are Jamaican and you are detained, only 40% of Jamaicans will be released before 28 days. You are right: there is direct racial discrimination hardwired into our immigration system at present, but nothing in the Bill actually deals with that. It only downgrades the rights of non-British citizens in this country.