As reported by the Guardian and the Observer, last year at least 75 people successfully overturned Home Office decisions to remove their British citizenship indicating a notable increase in challenges to the government’s use of these powers.
Following newly approved government reforms in the Nationality and Borders Act, it is now easier to remove citizenship without warning. Further figures obtained from the Observer, indicate that over the course of Priti Patel’s tenure as home secretary, there was a steep increase from just 13 challenges in 2013-2014 (and even less in previous years), to over 119 in 2019-2020 and 120 in 2020-2021.
New data indicates that, between January and September 2022, there were 354 other legal challenges against the government’s citizenship deprivation orders, from which less than one fifth were successful. These figures remain the highest on record, suggesting a significant increase in deprivation orders.
Fizza Qureshi, CEO of Migrant’s Rights Network, has stated that “no one should be at risk of being made stateless” and there remains “serious concerns about the government’s determination and intention to pursue such draconian measures.”
The Home Office are able to declare a deprivation order under certain conditions, such as “for the public good”, provided it would not leave someone stateless. A spokesperson from the Home Office has stated that ““Deprivation of citizenship is used against those who have acquired citizenship by fraud and against the most dangerous people, such as terrorists, extremists, and serious organised criminals. Deprivation of citizenship only happens after careful consideration of the facts, in accordance with international law. Each case is assessed individually on its merits and always comes with the right of appeal.”
Advocacy director of Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, Zehrah Hasan, has stated that “People who’ve been born and raised here should feel safe in the knowledge that this is their home, regardless of skin colour or where their parents were born. The home secretary’s use of citizenship deprivation orders – which are eight times more likely to be used against racialised people than white Britons – is discriminatory and draconian, and the courts clearly agree, as we can see from the huge number of rulings they’ve overturned.”