View from the House: Why I support Refugee Family Reunion

PUBLISHED: 08:00 18 March 2018


As with most MPs, Friday is a day that I normally dedicate to constituency engagements, however many local residents have contacted me about this humanitarian issue and I agree that the measures in the bill are well worth supporting. Nobody chooses to be uprooted from their home by war, genocide or persecution, so it is heartbreakingly unjust when that process divides families. People who have fled such cataclysmic events as the war in Syria need those closest to them to help them overcome the trauma they have suffered, and yet under the current arrangements too many families remain separated by thousands of miles with no means of reuniting.

I am supporting this bill to allow child refugees, such as those who have arrived here under the Dubbs Amendment, the right to sponsor close family members to settle here while they rebuild their fractured young lives.

I also want to see the parameters of family reunion provisions expanded, so that youngsters who have turned 18 are not excluded from joining their parents, and the elderly are not deprived of the chance to continue living with family members they rely upon.

Crucially, the Bill will allow those pursuing family reunion to once again receive legal aid.

In my experience the immigration system is nothing short of labyrinthine bureaucracy, so access to legal assistance is a must if the other reforms are to mean anything.

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