We need an immigration system based on human rights and fairness; not a hostile environment based on the worst lies of the EU referendum campaign.
Yesterday I spoke in a debate on the Immigration Bill. This legislation aims to create an immigration system after we leave the EU, effectively ending freedom of movement.
I voted against this Bill, because it fails to value the huge benefits that migrants bring to this country. It does not give any comfort to desperate people fleeing war and persecution. And it gives little reassurance to the millions of citizens of other EU countries who have made their lives here.
Together with my caseworkers, I often contact the Home Office to fight for fairer treatment for individual constituents. From my contact with the department it is clear that the government’s immigration system is already grossly unfair and inefficient. As this immigration system expands its reach over EU citizens, I am extremely worried that we may see a repeat of the scandalous treatment of the Windrush Generation, on a much larger scale.
Unfortunately, the Tories voted this bill through to its second reading – but I am confident that we can change some aspects of it at the next stage. For example, I am working with a cross-party group of MPs who will use this opportunity to change the law and prevent asylum seekers being locked up indefinitely.
People in Bristol often contact me about immigration. I am proud to say that almost everyone emailing me on this topic is asking for a fair system based on respect for human rights, founded on openness. They want the UK to provide a warm welcome to those who come to this country, whether they come to escape persecution or contribute their skills.
Whether you voted leave or remain, you deserve a better system than this.
Read my full speech here, or watch it below.