You know, I have rented places all over the world. The US, the UK, Netherlands and Sweden. So when the BBC article ‘Landlord rent checks could cause ‘everyday racism’, Labour warns’ (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-34498836) passed my screen, I was a little confused. That confusion did not go away with the quote “But shadow home secretary Andy Burnham told the Independent on Sunday it could cause problems for “anyone with a foreign-sounding name”“, he has been on my radar before (‘Dr Temp MD‘ at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/06/03/dr-temp-md/), where Brandy Human (read: anagram) seemed to imply that the mysteries of the spread sheet had not been revealed to him by this universe, but I digress. How can a foreign sounding name be an issue? You see, I have at all times been required to show proper identification, in my situation a valid passport. So why would there be an issue? The quote “Mr Burnham, describing the bill as “disproportionate, divisive, deceitful”, said: “The aim of the Immigration Bill is to make Britain a ‘hostile environment’ for illegal migrants”“, which does not even sound nice. I remember the issue that being somewhere illegally was, you know illegal. Hence the ‘stigma’ that there is. And in addition, why should illegality be protected or encouraged? Let’s state that this is indeed the case. Mr Damn Ah-by-Nun who came towards the UK illegally, goes towards the first legal centre he can find, or church for that matter and states: “I got here illegal, I am applying for refugee status“, now we have ourselves an old fashioned horse race. The proper people get informed, and Mr Ah-by-Nun goes into the refugee system and that person gets processed. You see, perhaps over simplified, but at no point was a rental place required. When we look that the UNHCR site we see “Everybody has a right to seek asylum in another country. People who don’t qualify for protection as refugees will not receive refugee status and may be deported” this is often the problem. We might state that they know that they are not allowed, but the fear that these people have also makes them not investigate as ignorance is key for many of these people, do they qualify for refugee status?
The UK defines the eligibility of a refugee as: “This persecution must be because of one of the following:
membership of a particular social group that puts you at risk because of the social, cultural, religious or political situation in your country, eg your gender, gender identity, sexual orientation”
Basically Syria is in a war, it sounds extremely inhumane, but that does not qualify. We can argue that as the war is based on political opinion, the verdict of eligibility should be yes. It is a thin wire to consider; yet as UK political views are against Assad, their plight has a much better chance. So they can go through the refugee system. At any point, they would have either a place to stay, an option to stay or proper paperwork, so the issue of Andy Burnham does not hold ground.
The response is also clear. We see the quote: “A Home Office spokesman said: “The government has made clear that the Right to Rent scheme is about reducing illegal migrants’ access to services – it has never been targeted at people with a lawful right to be in the UK”“, which makes sense, because people with a right to be in the UK will have the proper papers (like a VISA). The Guardian also took a look about 6 weeks ago with ‘The UK’s new immigration bill creates perfect conditions for slavery to thrive’ (at http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/aug/28/slavery-uk-immigration-act-2014-hostile-environment-undocumented-migrants-focus-on-labour-exploitation-flex). They are making a much better case. This would indeed be a danger, or would it? You see, true refugees can as far as I can tell still get into the refugee system when they register themselves. This means that once in the system, they either get their papers, or they get ‘replaced’.
One of the quotes I had an issue with was: “The prime minister says he wants to use the immigration bill to tackle the undocumented migrants who undercut the wages of British workers. Yet the cruel irony is that, far from preventing illegal working, the ‘hostile environment’ is creating conditions in which slavery can flourish“. This is a fair call and stating anything to the contrary or making some smart remark will not go far here. We can postulate that the Immigration Bill is making a first step in making it harder to stash away these slave labourers, but it is by no means their only option (for the slavers I mean) so there is a long way to go and with rental pressures it could make a difference. Is that true in the end remains to be seen.
It is the final quote that makes the difference as Caroline Robinson states: “A recent parliamentary answer showed that from January to June this year, just 28 out of 987 employers who were issued a ‘civil penalty notice’ for employing people without permission to work in the UK paid the full amount. This creates a win-win situation for unscrupulous employers, who can maximise profits by exploiting undocumented workers and then report them for deportation if they dare to demand decent labour conditions“. That path becomes a bit of an issue when these labourers have no place to stay, pushing the pressure in another direction. It will not be enough by itself, but it could be the start of closing the options for these unscrupulous employers.
Yet, it was not Andy Burnham that came with that part, Caroline Robinson brought valid points 6 weeks before Andy Burnham failed to make one. It seems to me that he missed the boat and the train all in one topic.
The independent shows the quote: “As Labour’s motion on Tuesday will make clear, we are prepared to support the Government where it has proportionate proposals to tackle illegal immigration, strengthen our borders and stop the exploitation of migrants by unscrupulous employers and landlords. But what we will never be prepared to do is let the Government pander to prejudice and legislate in haste to entrench the kind of casual discrimination which the Prime Minister claims to oppose“, the quote remains the issue, it is all about emotion and not about facts. the part ‘to entrench the kind of casual discrimination’ has no connection when a rent applicant has a proper VISA/legal papers. How can this be discrimination?
Now there will be many that shout outraged and a list comes, but it will be an emotional list. If there is one issue that is valid is that by itself the immigration bill will not work, more work is needed. Yet, what are the facts? The overview as published (at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/462004/Immigration_Bill_Factsheet_01_-_overarching.pdf), shows one part that matters. “The Bill complements the immediate action we are taking to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees and further secure border control in Calais“. As stated before, this bill does not stop refugees; it is a first step in taking care of the people with unsubstantiated asylum claims, whilst opening these options for the valid Syrian refugees. In the end, with the housing pressure as is, 20,000 refugees will place a serious pressure on housing. It is about the services becoming available to those who should be getting them.
Can we state that there will be pressures and that some will get hurt in the process? That cannot be denied, yet the overall issue is the illegal part, contrary to or forbidden by law is more than a term. It is set situation that the UK, the commonwealth nations and many other nations are nations of laws. These laws have been trampled on for a long time and this change is likely only a first step in thwarting illegal immigration and the pressure that this brings to the support system in the UK (as well as in many other nations). In the Netherlands there is a paper going round stating that illegal immigrants costs the Dutch treasury 7 billion Euro per annum. I will not go into this part, as there are some concerns as to how valid these numbers are, yet from more reliable sources we see that there is a massive shortcoming in medical care.
Again, we seem to be thwarting the issue at hand. These are not refugees, or asylum seekers; these are either rejected asylum seekers or people who entered the nation illegally. Is it too inhumane to consider the question why we cater to this group? I have never stood against giving medical aid to the needy, the refugees, or even humanitarian medical aid in other nations. With all these options in play, why do we cater to criminals? It is slightly politically incorrect, but the foundation in all this is that many nations have overstretched their credit card by a lot, things have to change. In that I am willing to consider that some options should not be stopped. I would limit the influx of refugees, but in this day and age, as the Syrian situation becomes less and less humane, can we afford to say no here? These are at least valid refugees, but at some point, one part has to give way. The immigration bill is a first step. I feel certain that if the financial situation was not the way it was this might not be playing, but that is not the hand Europe overall has been dealt.
In all this I see that many sources go into the emotional state. In here I would like to try and raise the issue of Mohammed Zulfiqar, who smuggled himself into the UK on a false passport, got a woman pregnant as fast as possible (5 times) and now even though through criminal means, he now uses Article 8, ‘the right to family life’, of the European Convention on Human Rights legislation to demand the Home Office allow him to stay in Britain. My issue is that only places like the Express and the Daily Mail seems to have taken a shine to this, as such, the source becomes unreliable pretty fast. The final quote in the express is “Last year 200 offenders, including rapists and muggers, ≠successfully challenged removal from Britain by citing Article 8“.
In my article ‘Cleaning House!‘ on July 1st 2014 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2014/07/01/cleaning-house/), I stated a change to the act. I opted for 2 changes. The first one: ‘3. In case of conviction of a serious crime, that nation can decide to ignore rule 1, providing a connection to a long term partner and the existence of biological off spring, born in that nation, not criminally conceived has been established.’ would take care of rapers, yet in this case Mohammed Zulfiqar could still remain. However the second change:
‘ARTICLE 12 Right to marry,
- Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to found a family, according to the national laws governing the exercise of this right
- The right to marry is temporary postponed if one or both persons have been deprived of his/her liberty by arrest or detention, until 6 months after release and was not been deported because of these events
- Paragraph 2 will not be valid, if a court has ordered the release of the involved parties due to non-lawful detention’
In here a fourth point would need to be added:
- The right to marry is only valid when both parties are legal residents of that nation.
Now we have a solution! Actually it is only one of two places. It does not need to be added in article 12, the simple provision that UK registration for marriage must be done with official papers should be more than enough.
Gee, took me 5 minutes to get this ball settled, why have the lawmakers not been more astute in solving this? With these amendments there is a proper humanitarian law, you see, humanitarian law gives too much protection too criminals and not enough consideration to the victims. How is that humanitarian in any way shape or form?
In all this more is needed, but until The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg realises that catering to criminal elements is a first likely cause for nations to start rejecting Humanitarian law, their Ivory tower will only continue to falter and crash. There have been several levels of criticism towards the ECHR in the past and that would never go away. Any nation that deals with the ECRH tends to see the ECRH cases as an invasion to their national laws. In my view, another side should be regarded. The ECHR building’s use of glass implies the openness of the court to European citizens. Yet in my view, this ‘transparency’ gives options for criminals to plot their path, whilst the solidity of glass becomes a fence holding captive the victims of those criminal transgressions. We could consider Mohammed Zulfiqar to be the lower grade transgressor, depending on the rights of the ‘wife’/’spawner’ of his UK residency ticket. The story from 2011 involving Akindoyin Akinshipe, then 24 year old who got to stay as his rape resulted in childbirth, so what about that 13 year old girl? How did the ECHR protect her?
How do the two issues relate? The ECHR is all about setting the rights of a humane foundation; I do not disagree or disapprove of that notion, yet the foundation is not correctly set. The transgressions from illegal and criminal act do not invalidate certain steps. The ECHR falls short here. Even though we accept article 12: ‘Right to marry’, ‘Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to found a family, according to the national laws governing the exercise of this right’. We see the failing that the ‘Marriages and civil partnerships in the UK’ (at https://www.gov.uk/marriages-civil-partnerships/giving-notice-at-your-local-register-office) does not mention or give proper direction that Marriages and Civil partnerships in the UK the need that both partners must be valid residents of the UK at time of registration, failure to do so would result in nullification of marriage and residency rights. The added issue ‘You can only give notice at a register office if you have lived in the registration district for at least the past 7 days‘ is something that needs addressing for the simple reason is that the added ‘and can prove your legal residency in the UK through proper identification and residency permits‘. All that could have prevented several issues (and avoid a few Strasbourg cases too I reckon).
Identitatis simplifico (meaning simplify identity) is about the rights to be in a place, which seems to leave the illegal immigrant out in the cold. Yet in all this, my choice is simple. If the choice is to leave either the refugee or the illegal immigrant out in the cold, than I am all for giving that extra mile to the refugee, who has seen their ordeal and have miles to go before they get to sleep, that is humanitarian in its foundation. The first step in dealing with the criminal element is to no longer cater to them. That part seems to elude Andy Burnham by a lot, but I could be wrong!