The Movement for Reform Judaism is behind a coalition of faith groups opposed to Home Secretary Priti Patel’s ‘New Plan for Immigration (NPFI)’ bill which is expected to be announced in next Tuesday’s Queen’s Speech.
The UK is about to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Refugee Convention, which decreed that ‘human beings shall enjoy fundamental rights and freedoms without discrimination.’
MRJ believes the government’s bill will violate this 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.
Rabbi Sybil Sheridan a former Chair of the Assembly of Reform Rabbis believes the government’s proposals lack humanity, and respect for human dignity.
“So many of us in the UK Jewish community are descendants of immigrants,” she said.
“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,” Rabbi Sheridan added.
The Movement for Reform Judaism calls on Ms. Patel to stop the bill before families are indiscriminately separated from each other and more people risk life-threatening journeys to seek refuge in the UK.