"I have never welcomed the weakening of family ties by politics or pressure" - Nelson Mandela.
"He who travels for love finds a thousand miles no longer than one" - Japanese proverb.
"Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence." - Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
"When people's love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change". -
David Cameron.

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Queen's Speech

Lots of activity out in Twitter-land on the Queen's Speech today, as you'd expect.

https://twitter.com/migrants_rights tweets :
Immigration status: the wrong priority for renting says @Shelter

Plans to make landlords check immigration status will encourage "irresponsible" landlords to flourish says Residential Landlords Association

https://twitter.com/JCWInews tweets :
Why it's wrong to expect Landlords to become Border Guards

A student from Nigeria wants to rent a flat for the final year of her studies in Liverpool. She’s so far been in University Halls of Residence, but in her final year she wants a flat on her own so she can properly concentrate on her dissertation. She finds a little studio in Toxteth and thinks she can afford the rent. The landlord is happy to rent it to her, but needs to check her immigration status to comply with the new regulations. He is alarmed to see only 10 months left on her visa, the contract for the flat is (as ever) a 12 month lease. He is sorry, but doesn’t want to risk contravening the rules and ends up letting the place to a UK resident.


https://twitter.com/eeleach tweets :
Policing foreigners in UK will mean all UK citizens having to prove citizenship for more things, more of the time. Identity cards next.

Because harsh immigration measures end up targeting British citizens too. Like the people here http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/stories

Liberty for some is liberty for none.

Served in British army, now unable to live with their spouses/children in UK :


Worth re-reading in light of Queen's Speech : “We want to hear from you” (or how informing works in a liberal democracy)


For someone like me who grew up in the Soviet Union, and who has spent the last decade engaging in analysis of socialist legacies and post-socialist transformations, it seems paradoxical that government institutions in a liberal democratic state like Britain rely on citizens informing on individuals living in their community. How is it that the informing machinery that the Communist Party deployed is commonly thought of as a feature of a totalitarian state, whereas the informing apparatus crafted by the UKBA is an acceptable technology of government? How is it that in the Soviet Union individual informers were either victims or collaborators, whereas in Britain they are virtuous citizens?


https://twitter.com/JCWInews tweets :
More & more people resorting to the EU route to family unity in the UK. This might help if you're thinking that way

A bunch of stuff here too. Many people are being with their families, in freedom, using this route.



https://twitter.com/19pst tweets :
Much tweeting re Queen's thoughts on immigration; having foreign antecedents, and married a stateless prince of Greek and German origins.

https://twitter.com/ianbirrell tweets :
Queen's speech ruined by absurd anti-immigrant measures - my Guardian piece on this flawed economics & politics

If the coalition's first priority is to improve economic competitiveness why is the #queensspeech filled with anti-immigrant measures?


https://twitter.com/OwenJones84 tweets :
Poor Queen: a descendant of German immigrants - married to a Greek immigrant - having to indulge Tory anti-immigrant bashing

https://twitter.com/c_quigley tweets :
Landlord immigration checks likely to lead to a more polite, 21st century version of the "No blacks, no dogs, no Irish" boards in windows.

https://twitter.com/patelsmie tweets :
Queen's Speech all about "backing people who work hard." > So that's #immigrants then? http://polho.me/11S2BuS

https://twitter.com/MigObs tweets :
In the light of the Queen's Speech here's the @MigObs briefing on determinants of migration http://ow.ly/kOIrW

https://twitter.com/mrjohnofarrell tweets :
Note to Queen; When you read out that bit about making it harder for immigrants to come here and live off the state; don't glance at Philip.

https://twitter.com/AdamWagner1 tweets :
Government may say they want a 'rebalance' on Article 8. But really, they are *removing* the balance in favour of the Home Secretary's edict

https://twitter.com/MRCF_london tweets :
NHS.Schools. Now landlords. No wonder UKBA was abolished when the rest of the society will be border controls enforcers.

GPs cannot be NHS 'border agency'.


GP leaders have warned the government against making doctors a new 'border agency' after a clampdown on immigration was announced in the Queen's Speech.

‘General practice must remain the main access to healthcare within the NHS. GPs have a duty of care to all people seeking healthcare, and should not be expected to police access to healthcare and turn people away when they are at their most vulnerable.’

The Hippocratic Oath


Landlords hit by Immigration Bill in Queen’s Speech.


David Brown, commercial director of LSL Property Services, said: “The government shouldn’t be putting obstacles in the way of landlords expanding their portfolios when tenants need the private rented sector more than ever.

“More rules forced upon the industry by government will only make renting less efficient – and ultimately more expensive for tenants. At a time of huge financial pressure this industry has not only survived, but picked up the slack.”


https://twitter.com/JCWInews tweets :
Our reaction to Queen's Speech (immigration policies)

I'll repost the -press release- in full as it bears emphasising :

Access to Healthcare.

There is a large scale of disagreement between government sources over the cost to the NHS of treating foreign nationals a spokesman for David Cameron put the figure at £10-£20 million, Jeremy Hunt has proffered a vastly inflated £200 million – but has given no justification for the figure. In a parliamentary answer, Health Minister Anne Milton said that the cost of unrecovered treatment costs to the NHS in 2009-10 was in fact just under £7 million.

Again this measure will significantly increase red tape in the NHS, with all patients being asked to provide ID to get treatment. We hope that this will not lead to people being denied NHS treatment, but will lead to an increase in bureaucracy and will not be cost efficient. £20 million is a tiny percentage of the annual NHS budget of £109 billion.

Benefit restrictions
Migrants claim less benefits than UK nationals. According to Government (DWP) figures for the financial year ending in 2011, 6.6 per cent of EU migrants with a National Insurance number were on out of work benefits within six months of having applied for a NI number. This compares with 16.6% of British nationals. The Government and parts of the media have propagated the myth that many immigrants have come to the UK to lounge about on free hand-outs, whereas the reality is that most migrants and hardworking and are here to earn as much money as they can.

Restrictions on access to legal aid
It is often the case that people arriving in the UK need assistance in legal cases. Some may be illegally detained by UKBA and need representation. Allowing new immigrants access to justice is the only check there is on public bodies such as UKBA which has an appalling record in this field.  In general, people who are new to the country are more vulnerable and likely to be exploited or discriminated against  - this is a denial of justice to those who need it most.

At JCWI we had a case of a 14 year old Eritrean girl illegally detained by UKBA. Had she not had access to legal aid to challenge her detention, we can only guess at how long her imprisonment would have been. We managed to secure her liberty after 9 days.

Habib Rahman, Chief Exec of JCWI said
“This is a vicious mix of red tape and denial of services and justice designed to appease tabloid editors, and to further exasperate public anxiety. This will serve to unnecessarily criminalise people in pursuit of a meaningless attack on migrants and foreign nationals. The Government is playing politics by introducing these discriminatory policies – we will see people suffer as a result. We will see the cost of bureaucracy climb significantly as the Government impose appalling measures in the hope of a little popularity.”


https://twitter.com/JananGanesh tweets :
Labour don't support net migration target. Good. Worst policy since Caligula married his horse. Points system better.


https://twitter.com/MBEGriffiths tweets :
Oh. God. Proposed immigration bill to force landlords to check tenants' immigration status. Are we all UKBA officers?

https://twitter.com/jdportes tweets :
Migrants, benefits & public services: wht problem are is govt trying to solve? Some facts:

https://twitter.com/LondonMigrants tweets :
Asylum cases waiting over six months for a decision have nearly doubled since February 2012 http://wp.me/p2OR6P-cT

The number of pending asylum cases that have been waiting for over six months for a decision has nearly doubled since February 2012, according to figures from the government’s monthly asylum application statistics, released yesterday.

The figures show that the number of cases pending an initial decision after six months had risen to 6,342 in February 2013, compared to 3,380 in February 2012. This represents an increase of 87 percent.


https://twitter.com/adge_uk tweets :
Lots of the pro-immigration talk today is supported by statistics and facts, lots of the anti is supported by anger and insecurity.

https://twitter.com/MBEGriffiths tweets :
Perhaps UK shld follow France & try the novel approach of attracting international students rather than deport them?

https://twitter.com/susiesymes1 tweets :
Nick Clegg: "‘So, yes, to a sort of open and tolerant Britain.." Grrrrr.

Nick Clegg has no integrity.

Today Liberty responded with dismay as plans for double punishment of the vulnerable via immigration and ASBO changes were included in this year’s Queen’s Speech – but welcomed the dropping of the dreaded “Snoopers’ Charter”.

There will be a new duty on landlords to ensure tenants are here legally – effectively contracting-out immigration control to private individuals and paving the way for racial discrimination – and plans to withdraw access to key public services, such as healthcare, for migrants. The Queen’s Speech hinted at reforms on the application of Article 8 of the Human Rights Act, the right to a private and family life, in deportation cases. It is rumoured that the legislation will remove consideration of a potential deportee’s family circumstances, connection to the UK or details of an offence. It is grossly unfair to blame difficulties with deportation solely on human rights laws – such decisions were complex long before the introduction of the HRA. There is also already a strong presumption in favour of deportation on the statute book. It is difficult to see what more can be done to talk tough about foreign nationals’ criminality – so now the Home Office seeks to strip innocent families of their human rights altogether.


https://twitter.com/BritCits immigrant of the day :
Hussein Chalayan, MBE, British/Turkish Cypriot fashion designer won British Designer of Year twice

https://twitter.com/patelsmie tweets :
Which Brit #artist will b 1st on #UK list? Margaret Cho, Alice Walker & 100+ Artists Call 4 Humane Immigration Reform

by Julio Salgado

https://twitter.com/JCWInews tweets :
Immigration and Xenophobia - keynote speech by Habib Rahman at Oxford Migration Studies Society Conference 4/05/13

https://twitter.com/19pst tweets :
Stunning must watch on immigration: brill poet @HollieMcNish

https://twitter.com/OpenSociety tweets :
Who are the Roma? http://osf.to/15zxMkY

The UK Border Agency response to the Independent Chief Inspector’s recommendations.


https://twitter.com/ICIBIVine tweets :
Home Office Laying Foundations for Improvement in Quality of Immigration Data, says ICI Borders and Immigration http://bit.ly/YBY3fB

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