Campaigners call for new family migration rules on one-year anniversary
Last Tuesday showed the united front in support of the campaign against the new family migration rules, as people from across the UK gathered in Westminister to make their voices heard. MRN, JCWI, Britcits and the Family Immigration Alliance organised a day of action to spread the word about the campaign, with the close involvement of many other organisations and affected families.
As the 9 July - the one year anniversary of the new family migration rules - arrived, campaigners' morale was high as a result of the recent show of support across parliament for the campaign, and the sympathetic judgment on 5 July issued by the High Court in the case of MM & Ors v SSHD. The afternoon began with a trip to Downing Street for a small group of campaigners, including MRN, to present a petition signed by over 3500 people to No 10.
Around 180 people then gathered outside the Home Office on Marsham Street for a lively demonstration. A BBC news crew accompanied the demonstrators as well as photojournalists and regional radio stations who covered the story.
Finally, a Committee room in parliament was packed with over 160 families (including many small children), charities, lawyers, MPs and peers, and plastered with photographs of divided families. The meeting was a powerful and energised presentation of the ways in which the rules have affected families across the UK. Presentations and interventions were made by many couples, parents and grandparents whose families had been split up by the rules, with statements of support from Maggie Atkinson, the Children's Commissioner of England, Keith Vaz MP, Sarah Teather MP, Baroness Sally Hamwee, Fiona MacTaggart MP, Kate Green MP and David Ward MP among others.
The campaign activity in recent months, culminating in the day of action on 9 July, has shown the determination behind the campaign, the widespread sympathy for its objectives, and the growing momentum building towards a change in the rules. A sincere and heartfelt thanks to all who have put their time and effort into this campaign thus far. We now have more work to do, but should feel confident that, together, we are helping to put this critical issue on the agenda - whether the government likes it or not.