Reform Judaism says government’s immigration plans breach international law

Movement says Jews who had fled to UK in 1930s ‘would not be protected in 2021’


LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 14: Priti Patel leaves after meeting Prime Minister Theresa May where she was appointed the position of Secretary of State for International Development, at Downing Street on July 14, 2016 in London, England. The UK's New Prime Minister began appointing the key Ministerial positions in her cabinet shortly after taking up residence at Number 10 Downing Street. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

Reform Judaism evoked the Kindertransport as it warned that the Home Office’s tougher new immigration plans would breach international law.  
“The Reform Movement’s argument is heartfelt because under the Home Office proposals Jewish refugees who fled to the UK from mainland Europe in the 1930s, including the Kindertransport, would in 2021 not be protected,” the movement said on Thursday. 
The movement for Reform Judaism also said the proposed changes would violate the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention, which states that countries cannot punish refugees over their illegal entry provided they can quickly demonstrate why they were forced to immigrate.
Under the changes, a migrant entering ‘illegally’ would see their asylum claims processed differently and would not have the same access to benefits and family reunion rights as those who travelled via official routes.
The plan, put out for consultation last month, also proposes to crackdown on smugglers by imposing longer sentences. 
Reform Rabbi Sybil Sheridan said Ms Patel's plan would “make it impossible for so many people to claim asylum.”
“So many of us in the UK Jewish community are descendants of immigrants,” said the former chair of the Assembly of Reform Rabbis.
“They came when Britain was a more hospitable country and we feel it’s our duty to ask the Home Secretary to think again. 
“Our nation has a long and proud history of welcoming people from all over the world. This bill will effectively make it impossible for so many people to claim asylum as the safe and legal routes outlined will be extremely limited. 
“We of course applaud measures to curb the evil of human trafficking, but by criminalising asylum seekers fleeing persecution and migrants desperate for a better life, this is unacceptable to us,” she added. 
Immigration minister Chris Philp told the JC that the plan would help “fix the broken asylum system.”
“With each day that passes, more vulnerable people are falling prey to organised crime gangs and risk dying in the back of lorries and at sea. Journeys across the Channel are not only dangerous and illegal, but also unnecessary, as France is a safe country.
“We have a responsibility to put the New Plan for Immigration into action so that we can fix the broken asylum system, helping people based on need, not the ability to pay people smugglers.
“Just this month, thanks to our world-leading safe and legal routes, we have been resettling refugees from countries including Iraq, Turkey, Egypt and Lebanon so that the most vulnerable people in the world can rebuild their lives in the UK. Our New Plan for Immigration will allow us to continue this essential work,” he said. 

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