Keep Families United- Over to you, now
Monday 9 July was a good day and a bad day. Bad, because the family Immigration Rule changes were introduced. Take a look at our dossier of case studies and analysis for a detailed look at the changes and how they will affect people. It was a good day because we witnessed the start of a vibrant campaign against these draconian measures.
Working closely with the Migrants Rights Network we organised a successful protest at the Home Office, drawing more than 120 people to Marsham Street, a number that far outstripped expectations. After that scores of people went on to Parliament to meet their MPs face to face to tell them their concerns and difficulties at the new immigration Rule changes. At 6.30pm we held a meeting addressed by MPs, campaigners and people directly affected by the Rules in the Grand Committee Room.
We have to apologise to those who came and were not allowed in to the room. We were not aware of how the fire limit would be imposed on the meeting room, and we were overwhelmed at the attendance. There were people sitting on the floor, standing at the back and sharing chairs – over 150 in all.
Elsewhere there are reports on what was said by whom, but the purpose of this piece is to attempt to help make the actions of Monday count.
The meeting was addressed by five MPs, there were many other MPs who told us they could not attend the meeting due to previous engagements. For MPs opposed to the Rule changes there is one thing that they must do. That is to sign the Early Day motion (No 297) laid by John McDonnell which simply reads:
That the Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules (HC 194), a copy of which was laid before this House on 13 June 2012, be disapproved.
This motion needs urgent support. To secure a debate in the House of Commons about the above, the above motion needs significant support, including that of Opposition frontbenchers by 22 July.
It is all well and good for MPs to say they oppose these measures. It means nothing until they sign that motion. If they fail to do this in significant numbers the Rules, which have already started to make people’s lives a misery will continue to do so for the indefinite future. We have written to MPs urging them to sign the motion, but we need you to do the same. In particular we need you to contact the Shadow Immigration Minister, Chris Bryant, and urge him to put his name to this. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org
At the meeting, Emily Churchill spoke. She successfully fought for her Palestinian husband to join her here, but went through the anguish and heartache of several refusals of visas and the accompanying separation from her spouse. She also spoke of a woman who was not at the meeting as she was giving birth to her twins that day. With her husband stuck in Jordan trying to learn enough English to satisfy the requirements, on the day their son and daughter were born the Home Secretary moved the goal posts in their quest for family unity.
Unless MPs want to have the stain of more divided families on their consciences, they must sign that motion.
We ask again for people to contact their MPs with this specific request, to once more write to Chris Bryant, shadow Immigration Minister to demand he adds his name to the list. We might win.
If we do not win, the campaign will steel itself for bigger and better battles. We were enthused by the appearance on our protest of a couple of trade union banners, from Unison and UCU. We took strength from the array of people showing support and we will, along with other organisations be pulling together a broader campaign group.
We aim to take the issue into the communities and constituencies. Monday’s turnout, on a miserable Monday evening in Central London was good, but it showed us there are thousands of people we need to involve in this campaign.
That is our aim. It starts with pressurising your MPs to stand up and be counted.
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