Why we need an amnesty for undocumented migrants
17 December 2021 02:19 PM

Why we need an amnesty for undocumented migrants

17 December 2021

For International Migrants’ Day, the Green Party’s Migration and Refugee Spokesperson Benali Hamdache sets out the case for an amnesty for undocumented migrants in the UK.

Earlier this month, Ireland announced an amnesty for all undocumented migrants in the country. Up to 17,000 people, including 3,000 children, who have made their homes in Ireland yet have been under threat of deportation, will be able to apply for the right to reside there permanently. They will gain equal rights, something that Irish Green Party justice spokesperson Patrick Costello has said will help “ensure nobody is left outside the protection of the law.

Contrast the approach taken to refugees on this side of the Irish Sea. Earlier this week, a shocking report revealed how hundreds of asylum seekers being kept in a holding centre in Kent are being left with nowhere to sleep, with untreated burns, and without rape support. This is the latest of a catalogue of reports revealing how migrants, including children, are being routinely having their human rights to safety and adequate shelter denied.

The Hostile Environment that faces people on their arrival in the UK extends to those who have been here for years trying to make a living. Undocumented migrants – the majority of whom arrived through legal routes but have fallen out of legal status – find it hard to access healthcare, in the middle of a pandemic. They are legally barred from working, meaning that many are forced into dangerous and exploitative work to try to survive. Domestic abuse rates among undocumented women are three times higher than the rest of the UK population, and twice as high for men, and they are unable to escape because reporting to any authorities, even the NHS, could see them deported.

Instead of addressing these concerns humanely – or even effectively, given that no policy, however draconian, will ever completely shut all borders and remove all undocumented migrants – the Conservative government has focused on pushing through the Nationality and Borders Bill with a frenzy of anti-immigrant rhetoric, including

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