Memorandum submitted by the Asylum Group of Warwickshire Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) (UKB 1)
We feel that the very short time between the first and second readings of the Bill will make it impossible for groups to make a detailed analysis of the text. We consider that this shows disregard for a genuine democratic process. We also feel that the text is exceptionally lacking in transparency.
Although a large part of the Borders Bill is primarily about various forms of criminal action (common crime by foreign nationals, trafficking, illegal employment, criminal conspiracy), the measures on biometric immigration documents threaten further segregation of asylum seekers.
Section 5 states that the government "may" "require" non-EU/EEA citizens who are under immigration control to apply for a biometric immigration document, which may contain personal data and histories "for specified immigration purposes, to comply with specified immigration procedures and under specified circumstances". The open-endedness of the provisions leaves it open to the immigration services to act in ways which might well be considered arbitrary in order to target particular individuals or categories of asylum seekers or other immigrants.
It allows the possibility that the holding of biometric immigration documents could be imposed on all asylum seekers, or only on those who are relatively disfavoured, or possibly also on those whose cases are being heard with more enthusiasm.
In other words, it appears to offer a "carte blanche" to a Secretary of State for Home Affairs to impose segregated documentation on or withhold segregated documentation from asylum seekers. It is not clear whether this might constitute inhuman and degrading treatment, but it certainly seems to be de-humanising at a time when we need more understanding and harmony between the peoples of the human race and between the human race and the planet.
Warwickshire Monthly Meeting Asylum Group