EU Borders: Refugees from Afghanistan Debate

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Department: Home Office

EU Borders: Refugees from Afghanistan

Lord Kerr of Kinlochard Excerpts
Thursday 9th September 2021

(2 years, 10 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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One thing I can assure the noble Lord of is that today the Home Secretary is meeting EU Commissioner Johansson and that migration, including the provision of safe and legal routes, is also being discussed today at the G7. An EU resettlement forum, also attended by the US and Canada, is also due to take place on 27 September. Finally, let me say to the noble Lord that anyone who makes a journey to Europe should claim asylum in the first safe country that they reach.

Lord Kerr of Kinlochard Portrait Lord Kerr of Kinlochard (CB)
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In our mid-August debate, I asked—without getting an answer then or since—about the fate of the 3,200 Afghan asylum seekers already here in this country. They are unable to work, they have to subsist on £5 a day and most of them must be traumatised by events back home. They are stuck in this limbo of a backlog of asylum cases that is now longer than ever before. Clearly, it is now as impractical to send them back as it would be immoral to do so. Clearly, they need to be given permission to stay. Clearly, their cases should now be approved en bloc. Can the Minister tell us when that will happen?

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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The noble Lord talked about a mid-August debate—I do not recall, but I may have misheard him. On asylum seekers, I certainly agree with him on several fronts, including that asylum applications should be expedited as quickly as possible. However, I do not agree that we should grant asylum to people en bloc because we need to be very sure that the people we welcome here are not a threat to this country.