Is My Citizenship A Right Or A Privilege?
The threat of citizenship deprivation is an already terrifying prospect. However the possibility of one’s citizenship being removed with little to no notice, creates a fear of a heightened level. Imagine suddenly being stripped of the rights you have grown up having, being refused entry to a place you have spent your entire life in, and having little power to defend yourself. This is the bill being debated in the U.K government, and if passed, clause nine of the bill will give the Home Secretary the ability to give no notice of citizenship removal to the individual if they deem that notifying them will be a threat to national security, not in the public interest, or merely an inconvenience. It is a reflection of the all too real rising anti-immigrant sentiments of the U.K government and public.
This bill, proposed by Home Secretary Priti Patel, has passed through the House of Commons, meaning that the U.K’s elected Members of Parliament (MPs) believe that it is an appropriate measure. Most votes came from the party which forms the majority government, the Conservative Party, with a vote of 298 votes to 231. Now, the bill is under scrutiny by the House of Lords, a chamber that holds up to 800 unelected members, acting as a check on the elected government’s powers. Should the bill pass the stages of scrutiny by the House of Lords, going through a process nicknamed ‘ping pong’ (referring to the to and fro of amendments between these two chambers), it could become law by this summer.
In reading about this bill for the first time, I remember a conversation my grandfather had with my mother, nearly ten years ago. We were in the same flat that my grandfather had moved into when he immigrated, it was where he made his life, raised his children and where his grandchildren could often be found, and it was in that place that he said to my mother:
“One day they’ll just kick us out.”
How hard it was to believe such a thing, and how it squirmed into my head as a young child as I wondered why my grandfather would say such a sad thing, imagining myself leaving behind my friends, games and books, being forced to go to Pakistan.