Sheffield activists to protest against new immigration bill that will treat people as ‘second class citizens’

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Sheffield campaigners will take to the streets this weekend to protest at a controversial new immigration bill which has been labelled 'racist' and has the potential to create a 'hostile environment', it is claimed.

The Nationality and Borders Bill, which was passed by MPs in the House of Commons in December, is going through the House of Lords and is due to be discussed on Wednesday, January 27, where amendments will be suggested.

The bill has come under fire by human rights activists, who have said that the bill could affect up to six million UK citizens including two in five people from non-white ethnic minority backgrounds.

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A clause in the bill states that the Government has the power to revoke citizenship without notice and will limit the ability to appeal.

A crowd of people gathered outside Sheffield Town Hall to protest the Nationality and Borders bill in December.A crowd of people gathered outside Sheffield Town Hall to protest the Nationality and Borders bill in December.
A crowd of people gathered outside Sheffield Town Hall to protest the Nationality and Borders bill in December.

There are also concerns, particularly among British Muslims with dual nationalities, that they risk being stripped of their citizenship while abroad.

In addition to that, critics argue that the bill would create a ‘dangerous precedent’ where the Government could remove one’s British nationality without warning.

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Human rights groups protest Nationality and Borders bill outside Sheffield Town ...

‘The bill makes a British-born a second class citizen’

Sahira Irshad, the founder of women's support group Mums United, said Saturday’s rally in Sheffield city centre aimed at sending a message to the Government.

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She said: “Not only will the bill impact on how the refugees are seen, treated and criminalised, it will also affect everybody and every citizen there is.

“The bill effectively makes me, a British-born, a second class citizen. My citizenship can be stripped and I could be deported - but where would they deport me to?

“I'm born and bred here, I've only been back to Pakistan like twice in my lifetime so I'm thinking that the bill is racist, and is creating a hostile environment.

“It's not acceptable that you are treated as second class citizens. You are creating a system without anyone realising what's happening.

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“Whilst the whole country was talking about Boris' Christmas party, they passed the bill through. They created the bill which is inherently racist and it goes against the very fabric of democracy that we stand for.”

Bill open to exploitation and abuse

Although the Government has said it would only be used 'in exceptional circumstances' and against those classed as 'most dangerous', Sahira said the bill remains dangerous and can be exploited and abused.

She said: “I think everyone needs to come and show their support for the rally this weekend. We are British citizens and we stand for British values and the land that we know our whole life. What gives them the right to create this bill?”

Sahira will be one of the many speakers scheduled to speak at the rally, which will see the presence of representatives from other Sheffield-based movements.

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They include, Stand Up to Racism, Trade Union Council, Black Lives Matter, and Sheffield Labour councillors, among others.

The rally will start at 12.30pm on Saturday January 29 from the bottom of the Moor, near Sheffield Council’s offices, and protesters will march towards Sheffield Town Hall.

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