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To: Department of Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi

Withdraw the flawed White Paper on immigration

The Department of Home Affairs must withdraw the bill in its current format and extend the public comments submission date to allow for a reasonable public participation process.

We also demand that the Department implement the recommendations proposed by civil society organisations such as Lawyers for Human Rights [1], and the Socio-economic Rights Institute (SERI) [2], as they have extensively worked directly with members of the community directly affected by these laws.

The Department of Home Affairs has recently closed the submissions for public comments for the White paper on Citizenship, Migration and Refugee protections. Public comments were opened in November, and a further extension was granted until 31 January 2024, following an outcry from various civil society organisations because of the short time allowed for public comments to be submitted.

Various other organisations, such as SERI, Lawyers for Human Rights and Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA), have called for a reasonable public participation process that allows all affected parties to participate. The process has been rushed, especially since the paper has some radical proposals.

The long-awaited policy statement outlining proposed changes to our asylum and immigration systems has been reported to make large claims on the granting of refugee status, twisting the actual landscape of the difficulties migrants are faced with when applying for citizenship [3] The paper also claims that there is an estimate of about 5 to 13 million migrants, these estimates are false [4]. These claims were debunked after Action SA used these unverified numbers to garner support during campaigning.

Why is this important?

We have seen the scapegoating of migrants continue to rise, especially in the lead-up to the elections. The popular idea to attribute the presence of migrants as the reason we have high unemployment rates and crime is harmful, and we have witnessed how dire and life-threatening this way of thinking can be. A thorough public participation process should be upheld, and members of the public should be given the opportunity to engage with the decisions made on their behalf and understand how they will be impacted.

Therefore, we call on the Department of Home Affairs to withdraw the bill and not rush such a critical piece of legislation, they should also work hand in hand with civil society for a thorough public participation process.

References

[1]https://lawyersforhumanrights.b-cdn.net/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/LHR-Submission-on-DHA-White-Paper-2024-01-31.pdf
[2]https://seri-sa.org/index.php/latest-news/1355-submission-seri-makes-comments-on-the-white-paper-on-citizenship-immigration-and-refugee-protection-1-february-2024
[3]https://www.wits.ac.za/news/latest-news/opinion/2023/2023-11/sas-immigration-proposals---false-claims-and-poor-logic.html
[4]https://africacheck.org/fact-checks/spotchecks/are-there-15-million-undocumented-immigrants-living-south-africa-no-another

Category

Updates

2024-02-22 20:44:47 +0200

500 signatures reached

2024-02-13 21:21:44 +0200

100 signatures reached

2024-02-13 17:37:16 +0200

50 signatures reached

2024-02-13 15:38:49 +0200

25 signatures reached

2024-02-13 14:45:57 +0200

10 signatures reached