May warned by lawyers over immigrant ID checks
The Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA), has warned home secretary Theresa May that her controversial immigration bill would require identity checks for all, including British citizens, and will lead to widespread discrimination.
The bill, being published today, would bring in a raft of punitive checks including requiring banks and landlords to carry out immigration status checks on potential customers and would introduce a controversial “deport first, appeal later” measure, whilst at the same time reducing the grounds for appeal from 17 to just four. It would also restrict access of illegal immigrants to basic healthcare.
May said the bill was intended to “create a hostile environment for illegal immigrants” and will attempt to curb the use of human rights laws, such as the right to family life, which are often used to prevent deportation.
However, a number of campaign groups and lawyers have fiercely criticised the bill. The ILPA described the bill as “intrusive, bullying, ineffective and expensive and likely racist and unlawful to boot”. They warned it would result in a proliferation of checks on UK nationals, saying it amounted to a system of “identity checks for all”.
The proposed policy to force landlords to check the immigration status of tenants or face a £3000 fine, is expected to be unworkable, with the Residential Landlords Association claiming there would be more than 400 different identity documents that landlords would have to be aware of.
Immigration charities warn this will lead to widespread homelessness and discrimination. It is feared landlords will simply refuse to let their properties out to any migrants, legal or not, for fear of falling foul of the fines.
A representative of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Migrants delivered an ominous warning, saying “these measures will divide society, creating a two-tier Britain, a return to the days of ‘No dogs, no blacks, no Irish’ and of ill people with no access to healthcare walking the streets of Britain.”