On 20th July 2023, the Illegal Migration Act became law, creating a near-total ban on the right to seek sanctuary in the UK. Throughout the passage of the Bill, communities across Newcastle have stood together in solidarity, condemning these cruel measures and calling on the Government to abandon these divisive, unworkable plans.
Now that the Bill has passed, we will do everything in our power to mitigate the harms of this legislation. Together, we will call for the repeal of the Illegal Migration Act, and advocate for a just, compassionate asylum system that treats all people with dignity.
Here in Newcastle, we know that our communities are strong, and that we will continue to do whatever we can to support people as they rebuild their lives. As we face this next challenge, we have come together to share what everyone across Newcastle can do to stand in solidarity with people seeking safety, particularly with the guidance of the West End Refugee Service Community Campaigns Group. Together, we will continue making Newcastle a City of Sanctuary!
Below are some ideas:
- Learn about the Illegal Migration Act: It’s really important that we understand what we’re facing. Freedom from Torture has shared an explainer of what’s in the Act, while Free Movement has explained what (limited) changes have been made to the Act as it proceeded through Parliament.
- Pledge to fight the #AntiRefugeeLaws: We have a long fight on our hands to repeal this appalling legislation. You can sign and share the national pledge to fight the #AntiRefugeeLaws, display posters, and spread the word on social media!
- Speak out and protest! It’s vital that we keep repealing this Act at the front of people’s minds. You can raise awareness by speaking to your community about the Act; reaching new people via local media or in-person events or stalls, and attend or organise demos to show that this Act does not represent us. Contact Asylum Matters and the WERS Campaign Group about ways to take action!
- Keep track of and share all the amazing things happening in Newcastle: The Info Now website has a useful directory of the different groups, services and activities across the city.
- Get involved: There are so many ways to get involved, but some starting ideas include finding volunteering opportunities via Volunteer Centre Newcastle or getting involved with the WERS Skillsmatch programme, while Action Foundation welcomes volunteers in its free English language teaching project for refugees (Action Language) and in its weekly drop-in (InterAction) held each Thursday at the City Church building in Newcastle’s Melbourne Street.
- Support Refugee-Led Community Organisations in our city and region: you can find information about refugee-led groups in the North East who are taking the lead in bringing change to their communities on the Regional Refugee Forum website.
- Encourage institutions and organisations to become places of Sanctuary: in Newcastle, we have libraries, schools, gardens, galleries, and theatres of sanctuary. Encourage other organisations to join the Sanctuary movement!
- Knowledge is power! Keep up to date with national policy, the impact of the Illegal Migration Act, and how it is affecting people by using Right to Remain’s Toolkit, their regular legal updates, and their informative videos.