Terror suspects may lose citizenship

Posted by Warren Fyfe on January 30, 2014 in Warren Fyfe Site

Airport border control

The home secretary is seeking powers to strip terror suspects of UK citizenship even if it leaves them stateless.

The amendment to the Immigration Bill could see naturalised citizens whose conduct is deemed “seriously prejudicial” lose their nationality.

People with dual nationality can already lose their British passports.

It comes as the government faces backbench rebellions over the rights of foreign criminals and Romanian and Bulgarian migrants.

BBC political correspondent Iain Watson says critics of coalition policy on the Conservative back benches are concerned that the Immigration Bill does not go far enough and believe there has been a concerted attempt to deprive the Commons of enough time to discuss their amendments.

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These proposals will strengthen the home secretary’s powers to ensure that very dangerous individuals can be excluded”

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Mark Harper
Immigration Minister

Home Secretary’s Theresa May’s last-minute addition to the list of about 50 government amendments to the Immigration Bill would not apply to people born in UK.

The Home Office insists the powers would be used sparingly and in strict accordance with the UK’s international obligations. It also has the support of the Lib Dem leadership, who accept it would only apply in a tiny number of cases.

Immigration Minister Mark Harper said: “Citizenship is a privilege, not a right. These proposals will strengthen the home secretary’s powers to ensure that very dangerous individuals can be excluded if it is in the public interest to do so.”

But the legal charity Reprieve has described the plan as an “alarming development” saying it would give the home secretary power to “tear up people’s passports without any need for the kind of due process”.

The home secretary’s move follows a UK Supreme Court ruling in October that said she was wrong to take away citizenship from a terror suspect who became British after leaving Iraq in 1992 as a refugee, leaving him stateless. The Home Office is appealing against the decision in favour of Hilal Al-Jedda, who now lives in Turkey.

Family life

The prime minister’s spokesman has defended the government’s stewardship of the parliamentary timetable, pointing out that it is for the Speaker to decide the order in which amendments are debated.

The proposal to extend restrictions on Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants to 2018, tabled by MP Nigel Mills, has garnered the signatures of 70 backbenchers, but is not expected to win enough votes to result in a government defeat.

Conservative ministers, the Lib Dems and Labour are all expected to oppose it.

It was originally tabled before the immigration controls ended on 1 January.

However, the legislation has been on hold since 19 November, fuelling speculation that it had been delayed to thwart the rebellion.

Ministers denied the charge, and PM David Cameron said the UK was “not allowed” to extend the restrictions further under current EU law.

A second amendment, tabled by MP Dominic Raab, would remove the right of foreign criminals facing automatic deportation to make an appeal based on their right to a family life in the UK.

Mark Lazarowicz Mr Lazarowicz confronted the PM at his weekly Commons question session

Labour MP Mark Lazarowicz said in Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday that “dozens” of Conservative backbenchers were pushing for changes “which everyone knows will be totally incompatible with the European treaties”.

“The prime minister has given concession after concession to his anti-Europeans,” he continued.

“When will he finally learn that they will never be satisfied with anything but British withdrawal from the European Union?”

But Mr Cameron said: “We need to make sure that people cannot come to Britain and abuse our health service and get rights to council or other housing or bank accounts or driving licences if they have no right to be here.

“These are all very good changes and I hope that we won’t delay too much before passing this important bill.”

Mr Cameron said there was nothing “anti-European” about the bill.

It aims to force private landlords to quiz tenants about their immigration status and restrict access to bank accounts for people in the country without permission.

A requirement is also included for some migrants to make a financial contribution to the National Health Service.

It would also streamline the appeals process in immigration cases.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-25953053#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

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