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Change in British law would threaten the citizenship of nation’s most vulnerable

Anjola Fashawe/YJI

LONDON – Outraged by changes to the Nationality and Borders Bill – called Clause 9 – protesters here have denounced a potential threat to the citizenship of millions of people.

This clause essentially states that the government will be legally allowed to strip people of their British citizenship without any warning or notice in certain circumstances, according to The Guardian.

The government justifies this clause as a means of tackling immigration problems, but many British citizens are angry that the clause passed through the House of Lords in January for more debate.

Many current British citizens fear that government officials could use the clause to take away their citizenship.

Refugees who seek sanctuary in the UK – including LGBTQ people and those seeking national healthcare – would be the most impacted.

According to a report last week in Time, more than 100 “charities, creatives and professionals” signed a statement against the bill, denouncing it as “overtly racist” and calling for an end to citizenship deprivation.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel is the face of this clause.

On Twitter, the Muslim Association of Britain criticized Patel for her own complacency in “a racist piece of legislation.”

The home secretary, who has paternal grandparents from India, is viewed as a hypocrite for actively endorsing a clause which could inherently affect not only British citizens but her own family.

Patel rationalized the clause in a May speech, saying it would ultimately give the UK “the world’s most effective border system.”

More than 320,000 people throughout the UK signed a petition on the parliament website that opposes the clause.

In a January 5 response to the petition last month, the government said, The Government will not remove Clause 9. It is necessary to ensure deprivation powers can be used effectively and will only apply in very limited circumstances. It does not affect the right to appeal.

With 2021 being a year which highlighted racism and injustice, it is a shame that in 2022, the government does not want to listen to citizens’ pleas. 

This clause affects a majority of the UK including my own parents. Clause 9 appears to me to be nothing other than a repetition of the 2018 Windrush scandal, when the UK government threatened deportation of children of Commonwealth citizens.

For a supposed first world country, it is shameful that the UK government can endorse such tyranny.  

Anjola Fashawe is a Junior Reporter and Illustrator with Youth Journalism International.

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