THE Government is proposing a Borders and Nationality bill. 33 people, on a very wet day in Settle Market this week, signed the following letter, addressed to the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, expressing our outrage at the proposals.

"We, the undersigned constituents, are writing to protest at the proposed Nationality and Borders bill.

We object because:

It is inhumane. By criminalising those refugees who arrive undocumented, usually by desperate means, the reasons why people have been forced to flee and seek sanctuary here are being ignored.

It defies international law and agreements under which any person in the world has a right to seek safety elsewhere. There is no such person as an ‘illegal’ asylum seeker.

It fails to address the real problems of the present system ie the absence of safe routes for people to arrive in the UK when in fear for their lives; the harsh conditions under which asylum seekers are living in the UK, the huge length of time it takes for an asylum application to be decided and the high proportion of those which are refused in the first instance, only to be granted on appeal when the factors behind their flight have been more fully considered.

We want to live in a society that respects and protects those fleeing danger and devastation we can barely imagine. We are outraged that this government can consider turning back boats that carry them and criminalising those who attempt to rescue them. We want it to be easier to welcome such people into our communities.

Please withdraw this bill and replace it with one that addresses the real issues facing us all in our attempts to make the world fairer and safer for all."

Annie Neligan

Craven Refugee Support Network