On 17th January 2017, Lord Bridges of Headley repeated a Government statement on Britain’s withdrawal from thew EU. The Archbishop of York, Most Revd and Rt Hon John Sentamu, asked a follow up question.
The Archbishop of York My Lords, there are good things in the Prime Minister’s Statement. I have no intention of turning it into a Christmas tree on which to hang many baubles so that it collapses under the weight of them. Nevertheless, although the Prime Minister referred in her Statement to immigration and to welcoming the brightest and the best, I am surprised that, as a former Home Secretary who worked hard on immigration and the issue of asylum seekers in particular, she made no reference to asylum seekers. Continue reading “Archbishop of York asks Government about situation of those seeking asylum in the UK after Brexit”
On Tuesday 7th June the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby and the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler gave evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee in the House of Commons. They were asked questions on the migrant crisis, asylum support, the EU and faith community relations.
The full transcript is available below or can be watched here – The Works of the Immigration Directorates (Q1 2016)
Continue reading “Home Affairs Select Committee hears from Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop of Durham – transcript”
On 21st March the House of Lords considered the Government’s Immigration Bill at Report Stage. The Bishop of Norwich, Rt Revd Graham James co-sponsored and spoke in support of a series of amendments on care leaving support for young people in the immigration system. Introducing the amendments the Earl of Listowel said:
“These amendments ensure that young people leaving care are able to continue to access leaving-care support from their local authorities in circumstances where their departure from the UK is not envisaged. This includes young people with pending applications to remain in the UK whose long-term future may be in the UK, and young people who cannot leave the UK because there is a genuine obstacle to their removal.”
The amendments were not put to a vote. The Bishops’ speech and the Minister’s response are below.
The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, the situation of most young adults in this country reveals why this group of amendments is needed. I am glad to add my name to it and pay tribute to the noble Earl for his introduction. In 2015, half of all young people aged 21 in this country and 40% of all 24 year-olds were still living with their parents. As many Members of your Lordships’ House will know from personal experience, even adult children who have left home often return when need arises. Indeed, my own personal experience of adult children is that territorial control of bedrooms continues even when they have got married or have their flats elsewhere—I am thinking of introducing a bedroom tax in Bishop’s House in Norwich. Continue reading “Immigration Bill: Bishop of Norwich supports amendment on supporting care leavers”
On 21st March the House of Lords considered the Government’s Immigration Bill at Report Stage. Lord Alton tabled an amendment seeking to secure automatic asylum rights for members of groups subject to genocide and which gave power to the UK Supreme Court to determine whether a genocide had occured. The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, spoke in support of the amendment, and Lord Keen of Elie responded on behalf of the Government. In a subsequent vote the amendment was not passed, by 111 votes to 148. .
Continue reading “Immigration Bill: Bishop of Chelmsford supports amendment on asylum for victims of genocide”
On 9th March 2016 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Immigration Bill at Report Stage. The House considered an amendment from Lord Alton of Liverpool that sought to give the right to seek work to those asylum seekers whose claims had not been processed within six months. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke in support of the amendment, which passed by a vote of 280 to 195.
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I support the amendment and endorse everything that has been said already, and reinforce the point that the General Synod had a major debate on this and overwhelmingly supported such a move.
Some of the saddest conversations I have ever had have been with asylum seekers who came to this country and thought they would be welcomed, but have felt unwelcome; who want to be able to uphold their human dignity and feel that the best way of doing that is to become contributors to this society. Continue reading “Immigration Bill: Bishop of Durham supports right to work for asylum seekers”
On the 3rd February 2016 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Immigration Bill in committee. The Bishop of Norwich, Rt Revd Graham James, spoke in support of an amendment co-sponsored by the Bishop of Southwark on family reunion for refugees. Following the response from the Government the amendment was withdrawn.
The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Southwark, who has added his name to Amendment 234, cannot be in his place, but I am glad to speak on my own behalf and, I hope, for him, too, since we are of one mind on this matter. Continue reading “Immigration Bill: Bishop of Norwich supports amendment on review of family reunion programme for refugees”
On the 3rd February 2016 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Immigration Bill in committee. The Bishop of Norwich, Rt Revd Graham James, spoke in support of an amendment from Lord Alton of Liverpool proposing the extension of Local Authority support for young people and care leavers seeking asylum. The Bishop spoke about the danger of young people disappearing, without necessary support. The amendment was withdrawn after debate.
The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, I do not want to detain the Committee because we have heard the significance of these amendments, to some of which I have added my name. I want to follow what the noble Lord, Lord Judd, has just said because we all know that the consequence of not providing for these young people when they leave the care system is serious because they are going to remain in this country. Continue reading “Immigration Bill: Bishop of Norwich backs amendment on support for unaccompanied young people seeking asylum”
On the 3rd February 2016 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Immigration Bill in committee. The Bishop of Norwich, Rt Revd Graham James, spoke in support of an amendment to clause 37 on levels of support for those seeking asylum. The Bishop echoed the concerns of the Bishop of Southwark, made at the Bill’s Second Reading, that further reducing the weekly support for people in the asylum system was unwelcome. After debate Peers decided to let the clause stand as part of the Bill.
The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, I support Amendment 230 in this group. My colleague, the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Southwark, spoke at Second Reading of his concern about the architecture of Clause 37 and Schedule 8. I share his belief that the reduced weekly support of £36.95 per person, to which the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, referred, for an asylum seeker under the current system is inadequate. Where that financial provision is refused, it is subject to a right of appeal. I note that in nearly two-thirds of such appeal cases, the appeal is successful or the refusal is withdrawn. Continue reading “Immigration Bill: Bishop of Norwich urges Government to reconsider cuts in asylum support”
On the 20th January 2016 the Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun spoke in support of an amendment to the Government’s Immigration Bill, in the name of Lord Kennedy of Southwark. The Bishop supported the aim of the amendment that asylum seekers should be allowed to work whilst waiting for their claims to be processed. The Bishop pointed to a resolution from the General Synod of the Church of England, which considered this issue in 2009 and favoured a 9 month period after which individuals could seek work. The amendment was withdrawn at the end of the debate.
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, Amendment 134, which I wish to support, is simple, just and proportionate in its aims. I accept that Home Office officials must, in the discharge of their duties in this area, deal with barriers of language, emotional distress, the fear of authority, the complexity of people’s lives and, on occasion, deceit. All this takes time. However, it is far from unknown for applicants for asylum to wait months or even years for a substantive decision in their case. This subjects them to a fearful limbo, with limited means of support and the background anxiety of not knowing for a very prolonged period what the outcome will be. Furthermore, we know from the experience of our own citizens the deleterious effects of prolonged inactivity on their emotional and physical well-being, and how this can erode an individual’s skill base
Continue reading “Immigration Bill: Bishop of Southwark supports amendment to allow asylum seekers to work”
On the 22nd December 2015 the Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun spoke during the Second Reading debate of the Government’s Immigration Bill. Bishop Christopher spoke about the proposals for new powers for immigration officers and voiced concern about further reductions in support for those whose asylum claims have been refused. He also drew on his recent visit to the Calais migrant camp.
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, the Bill is the latest in a list of substantive immigration legislation that this House has considered in recent years. Since the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 we have had five further pieces of primary legislation in this area, yet Her Majesty’s Government have published no White Paper on immigration since 2002—no considered, detailed overview and proposals through which we might consider all aspects relating to immigration before embarking on major legislation. The Explanatory Notes are helpful but they are no substitute for a White Paper. Continue reading “Immigration Bill: Bishop of Southwark speaks about reduced support for asylum seekers and new powers for immigration officers”