SSAHE (Social Scientists Against the Hostile Environment) would like to invite you to its webinar which will take place on Monday 7th March, 5-6.30pm

The webinar is free but please register as soon as possible via Eventbrite to secure your place.

The Nationality and Borders Bill will have significant consequences for the ‘hostile environment’ in the UK, and the increasingly narrow and exclusionary nature of British citizenship.  It will enact a significant expansion of external borders, as only refugees who enter the UK through recognised resettlement programmes will be permitted to settle in the UK.  People seeking asylum who enter the UK through other means will be subjected to an intensification of internal borders, among other things, barred from permanent settlement.  The bill also proposes to further degrade appeal procedures by limiting some to a single hearing only, and limiting what sort of evidence can be heard when appealing a refused asylum claim. In addition, the government will be able to strip individuals of their citizenship without informing them.  

While the Bill has generated a great deal of public outcry, it is neither exceptional nor unusual in the wider history of UK immigration policy.  Rather, the Bill reinforces pre-existing racialised notions of UK citizenship, and continues decades’ long trend of authoritarian approaches to migration.  Seeking to make distinctions among asylum-seekers according to their mode of arrival, for example, dates back to the early 1990s.  This webinar will explore the Nationality and Borders Bill as the latest iteration of the hostile environment, situating the Bill within the history of UK citizenship, and outlining the consequences of the bill for marginalised migrants; whilst also offering new ways academics, activist, grassroots organisation and local/national community can connect in solidarity so to organise, resist and rewrite this Bill

Presentations:

Borders, Nationality – and Empire

Dr Maria Norris, Coventry University

This talk will focus on ways modern immigration policy is a direct offshoot of post-colonial racialised policies designed to control access to the UK and its resources. It will show how the Nationality and Borders Bill is the latest example in a long line of immigration policies which seek to regulate membership and belonging in the UK along racial lines.

Dr Maria W. Norris is an Assistant Professor of International Relations at the University of Coventry. Her research focuses on UK counterterrorism, extremism, white nationalism, and the Empire. Her writing has appeared on The Independent, The New Statesman, and the Byline Times. She is also the host of Enemies of the People, a podcast about extremism in the 21st Century.

Welcome to Britain?  Asylum under the Nationality and Borders Bill

Colin Yeo, Barrister and author of Welcome to Britain

This talk will outline the changes in asylum provision under the Nationality and Borders Bill, which include powers to enable differential treatment of refugees depending on how they reach the UK, a new generation of ‘reception’ centres, a new fast-track decision-making process, curtailed appeal rights, new presumptions on credibility, export of refugees to other countries (‘off shoring’), new interdiction-at-sea powers and amendments to the refugee definition itself.

Colin Yeo is a barrister at Garden Court Chambers in London and author of Welcome to Britain: Fixing Our Broken Immigration System, published in 2020. He founded the Free Movement legal blog in 2007 and before becoming a barrister worked for two charities, the Immigration Advisory Service and Refugee Legal Centre.

Opposing the Bill – campaigning with civil society organisations

Zrinka Balo, Migrants Organise

This talk will engage with the question: to what extent can the Borders and Nationality Bill be viewed as a new phase in the raft of hostile environment policies launched by Theresa May ten years ago? The legislation of the first wave was primarily directed at migrants deemed unlawfully present in the UK and aimed to make entry into the workforce, renting accommodation and using public services more difficult.  The new Bill is targeted at two different groups: the first being people attempting irregular entry at the UK borders; the second being people considered not worthy of retaining their British citizenship.  The Bill will also have an adverse effect on migrants more widely, through its proposed changes to appeal procedures. To date, work in solidarity with migrants, as developed by, among other groups, Migrants Organise, has aimed to consolidate widespread misgivings over the obvious injustices associated with the Windrush generation scandal and oppressive enforcement measures around detention and deportation into a substantial social movement of supporters of migrant and refugee rights.  Will this continue to be a viable strategy as campaigns are stepped up against the measures contained in the Bill?  How can the work of scholars in the field be used to strengthen opposition in the period ahead?   

Zirinka Bralo has been the CEO of Migrants Organise  since 2001. Migrants Organise is an award winning grassroots  platform where migrants and refugees organise together for dignity and justice. Migrants Organise puts its organising effort into numerous shared campaigns and actions such as Patients Not Passports campaign for access to health care, Promote the Migrant Vote campaign to build electoral power, and the most recent Fair Immigration Movement Charter and a call for immigration reform based on principles of  dignity, justice and welcome.  Zrinka is a refugee from Sarajevo, where she was a journalist and she worked with leading war correspondents in the 90’s. She is a founder of Women on the Move Awards that celebrates achievement of migrant and refugee women, and winner of the 2011 Voices of Courage Award by the Women’s Refugee Commission in New York. As the Commissioner of the Independent Asylum Commission, Zrinka successfully negotiated the end of immigration detention of children in the UK in 2010. Having learned from the US immigrant justice organisers, in 2014 she pioneered a new model of grassroots migrant organising in the UK, which combines organising for systemic change, direct action and advice, and support for people affected by the Hostile Environment immigration policy. Zrinka holds an MSc in Media and Communications from London School of Economics and is an Honorary Doctor of Letters at Exeter University.

Chairs and Organising Committee

Don Flynn

Ben Gidley (Birkbeck)

Bahriye Kemal (University of Kent)

Eleonore Kofman (Middlesex University)

Gwyneth Lonergan (Lancaster University)

Nira Yuval-Davis (UEL)