F16: A Better Alternative to the Small Boats Legislation

Emergency motion as passed unanimously by conference

Submitted by: 10 members.

Conference notes with concern the Conservative Government’s alarming Illegal Migration Bill, which was introduced to Parliament on 7th March.

  1. Under this policy, anyone who enters the UK via a small boat crossing will be immediately detained and deported to another country as soon as possible.
  2. An analysis of Home Office statistics by the Refugee Council showed that in 2022 48% of those who crossed the channel were from just 5 countries, all with asylum grant rates over 80% – Afghanistan, Eritrea, Sudan, Syria and Iran.
  3. The 1951 Refugee Convention, of which the UK is a signatory, confirms that asylum seekers have a right to not be penalised for illegal entry to a country.

Conference believes that the Government’s plans to stop small boats:

  1. Are immoral, ineffective and incredibly costly for taxpayers.
  2. Will do nothing to address the criminal gangs responsible for arranging these dangerous crossings, and instead punishes the victims of human trafficking.
  3. Betray the UK’s proud tradition of providing sanctuary to refugees fleeing war and persecution, and breaches our commitments under international law.

Conference further believes that the best way to stop these dangerous crossings and tackle smuggling and trafficking is to provide safe and legal routes to sanctuary for refugees.

Conference calls on the Government to:

  1. Immediately scrap the Illegal Migration Bill.
  2. Fix the broken asylum system by taking powers away from the Home Office and establishing a new, dedicated unit to make decisions quickly and fairly.
  3. Provide safe and legal routes to sanctuary for refugees from all countries, including:
    1. An expanded, properly-funded refugee resettlement scheme.
    2. A new scheme to resettle unaccompanied child refugees from elsewhere in Europe.
    3. Reuniting unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in Europe with family members in the UK.
    4. Expanding the scope of refugee family reunion, including enabling unaccompanied child refugees in the UK to sponsor close family members to join them.
    5. Humanitarian visas that would allow asylum seekers to travel to the UK safely to proceed with their claims.

Applicability: Federal.

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