Iain Dale clashes with migrant rights campaigner over new immigration policy

22 October 2020, 20:39

By Fiona Jones

Iain Dale has a heated debate with migrant rights campaigner Satbir Singh over the new immigration policy which sees EU citizens who have been in jail for more than a year banned from entering Britain.

European citizens who have served more than a year in jail will face an automatic ban from entering Britain next year, Home Secretary Priti Patel has announced.

Foreign rough sleepers will also face being deported under the new immigration laws which will be introduced once the Brexit transition ends.

Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants chief Satbir Singh accused the Home Office publishing changes "two hours before Parliament closes" and of missing an opportunity "to inject some fairness and some justice in to the system."

Instead, he said, "They've gone for the more headline grabbing changes like making it more difficult for people with criminal records to come here."

"I don't want foreign criminals in this country, what's wrong with trying to prevent them from coming in?" asked Iain.

Mr Singh explained that the changes are complex and lengthy, but "there's a real opportunity that's been missed here to make it easier for people who live here, who are law-abiding to stay here, to renew their VISAs, to deal with sky-rocketing fees...but what we've seen instead is the Home Office have gone for the headline-grabbing approach."

"How is it a headline-grabbing approach to put EU citizens on the same status as the rest of the world?" asked Iain, pushing Mr Singh for a response.

"I think as the child who of people who came from thousands of miles away from the European Union that we do need fairness in our immigration system, but what the Government has chosen to do is level down rather than level up," Mr Singh said.

Iain Dale clashes with migrant rights campaigner over new immigration policy
Iain Dale clashes with migrant rights campaigner over new immigration policy. Picture: LBC/PA

"So what they've said is we've been treating people from outside the EU pretty badly for a very long time, we'll now have to treat European people in the same way," said Mr Singh, to which Iain objected.

"They've said they don't want people to come in to the country who've been in prison for more than a year, entirely fair, that's not levelling down or levelling up, it's just being sensible. Or do you think we should be letting lots of criminals into the country no matter where they come from?" Iain asked.

Mr Singh responded that if a person serves their sentence and is rehabilitated and found to no longer be a threat to their society, "are we really saying that they can never leave that country again even to visit someone else?"

Iain pointed out that this ruling occurs in many countries, including the US, to which Mr Singh responded that British citizens would find "unfair."