17 March 2023
For Mother’s day this year, take action with us and call upon the government to put an end to the UK’s unfair Family Reunion rules. While adult refugees are allowed to sponsor some close family members to join them when they arrive in the UK, child refugees are not. Because of these rules, many refugee children will not get to be with their families this Mother’s day.
STAR is proud to be a member of the Families Together coalition. Together with over 100 other organisations, we campaign to reunite refugees with their close family whatever their country of origin and background are, reunite child refugees with their parents, expand the definition of family to ensure parents’ safety in the UK, and bring back legal aid for refugees.
What the issue is
In the last year, over 5000 separated refugee children arrived in the UK alone, unable to reunite with their parents. It doesn’t have to be like this. All of the UK’s closest neighbours allow separated refugee children to sponsor their parents to join them. The situation needs to change and the government can do this with just the stroke of a pen.
Children and families will be put at further risk by the new ‘Illegal Migration’ bill proposed by the government. If the bill passes, people arriving in the UK to seek safety will effectively be unable to have any claim to protection, unless they come to the UK via one of the few, extremely limited resettlement routes. It will allow the government to detain and remove the people arriving through irregular routes, preventing them from reuniting with their families and building a new life in safety.
In our letter to Rishi Sunak, which we signed with Refugee Action and over 350 charities, we emphasised that the bill ‘‘makes a mockery of our international commitments” and “shuts the door on desperate people in need of protection” .
Refugee children, often suffering trauma from their past experience, need their family’s presence and support. They are now additionally endangered by this new bill. It is urgent, now more than ever, to raise awareness of the situation of refugee children separated from their families.
What you can do
- Write a Mother’s day card in support of #FamiliesTogether and send it to your MP. Tell them why family reunion matters to you. Don’t forget to include your full name and address so they know you’re a constituent. Share your cards on social media with the hashtags #MothersDay and #LetMeBringMyMum, and tag STAR! You can follow the Refugee Council’s guide and template to create your own Mother’s day card. Check out our Instagram post for more information.
- Sign the digital card and leave a message in solidarity with separated families. The card will be sent to Robert Jenrick, Minister for Immigration, after Mother’s day – so it’s an important opportunity to show support for family reunion. Sign the digital card here.
If you are interested in supporting the Families Together campaign in other ways, or have any questions about it, you can get in touch with Siobhan, STAR’s Campaign Manager.