London – The Nationality and Borders Bill as currently drafted seeks to amend the Schedule 7 powers under the Terrorism Act 2000, to grant the police the power to stop migrants who arrive in small vessels, interrogate them for up to 6 hours and confiscate their electronic devices without the need for suspicion or the right to ‘no comment’. Non compliance to Schedule 7 results in a terrorism conviction. [1]

In 2019, a CAGE report into Schedule 7 outlined how it is used primarily as a surveillance tool, and only 30 of 420,000 people stopped between 2010-2019 were ever convicted under this power. This translates to 99.993% of people stopped being entirely innocent. [2]

This is an exceptional power which we and other experts have warned would only expand once in place. Now, fears and prejudices towards migrants are being exploited to extend Schedule 7 and the powers of the security state. [3]

Muhammad Rabbani, Managing Director of CAGE said:

“A CAGE report into Schedule 7 found that this is an institutionally Islamophobic power that strips individuals of their basic rights under the pretense of countering terrorism.”

“The constant framing of refugees as ‘security risks’ has further exacerbated the hostile environment and entrenched anti-migrant rhetoric with counter terror laws, as demonstrated by the proposed expansion of Schedule 7.”

“It is a clear example of the government’s pro-surveillance ideology in the driving seat, and will take us a step closer towards normalising this draconian power to all travellers, even well after they arrive in the UK.”

“As someone who has been stopped under Schedule 7 countless times, I recognise that expanding the power is an attempt to circumvent current legal protections for asylum, and to subject people fleeing conflict to invasive and degrading treatment in Britain. This is about criminalising migrants and refugees, not about safety.”

[1] https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/lbill/58-02/082/5802082_en_9.html#pt6-l1g74

[2] Download the report from here: https://woocommerce-150299-430654.cloudwaysapps.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/CAGE-Schedule-7-report.pdf

[3] Julian Assange: Counter-terrorism strategies targeting Muslims will affect the wider population: https://youtu.be/emfncWOhXw8

Image courtesy of Flickr/Håkan Dahlström

(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)