Yesterday, the House of Lords heard the second reading of the controversial Immigration Bill which includes an amendment that would dramatically expand Home Secretary Theresa May’s ability to remove citizenship. The amendment which was inserted by the Home Secretary at the last minute of the Bill’s progress through the House of Commons last month, would enable her to remove nationality even when the individual will be left stateless. Last week, an immigration judge highlighted the “appalling prospect” of a man losing his British citizenship three times, if this amendment becomes law.
UK Immigration Bill: Controversial ‘Deprivation of Citizenship’ Clause
Theresa May’s amendment to the Bill which has been described by Liberty as “irresponsible and unjust”, would strip naturalised British citizens of their citizenship if they are judged to present a threat to national security. Currently, Theresa May cannot revoke a person’s citizenship if it would make them stateless, so the power can only be used on dual nationals who would still have another nationality even if they lost their British citizenship.
Statistics show that since the election, Home Secretary Theresa May has signed deprivation of citizenship orders for 36 people, including 20 individuals in 2013. It is interesting to note that under the Labour government, 5 people lost their British nationality.
Immigration Judge Warns on Deprivation of Citizenship Clause
Last week, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission heard Iraqi born Hilal al Jedda’s appeal. Jedda came to the UK as an asylum seeker in 1992 and automatically lost his Iraqi nationality under the law at the time when he became a British citizen. In October 2004, he was arrested by US and British forces in Iraq and was held for 3 years on suspicion of planning terrorist acts. After his release, he was deprived of his citizenship in 2007, leading to a series of legal appeals.
At the appeal hearing last week, Justice Irving raised the “appalling prospect” of Jedda potentially regaining his citizenship by successfully arguing he had been made stateless – and then being stripped of it yet again under the new legislation.
Successful UK Naturalisation/British Citizenship Applications & Appeals
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