The highly controversial Illegal Migration Bill is set to become law, leaving advocacy groups terrified of the ramifications it could have on those trying to seek asylum in the UK.

Under the bill, those entering the country via “illegal” routes – such as by crossing the Channel in small boats – will be detained and removed.

Suggested amendments proposed by the House of Lords were scrapped by MPs earlier this week, which included restrictions on sending LGBTQ+ people to countries that may not be safe for them.

Nadia Whittome, Labour MP for Nottingham East, is among those who oppose the legislation in its entirety.

“I’m devastated that the Illegal Migration Bill has passed. It will have serious consequences for vulnerable people, including LGBT+ refugees, who will no longer have the right to seek asylum in the UK,” she told GAY TIMES.

READ MORE: Nadia Whittome MP: ‘The Illegal Migration Bill is an attack on the right to seek asylum in the UK’

“It could mean that people are sent to countries where it’s not safe to be LGBT+, and it will result in more people being held in detention where they’re at greater risk of abuse and violence. It’s important that we continue to stand against this Bill and campaign for an asylum system with compassion at its heart.”

“This is a cruel and insensitive piece of legislation”

Those removed from the UK will be sent to either Rwanda or another country deemed “safe” by the government, something that is a source of grave concern for asylum advocacy groups.

Leila Zadeh, the Executive Director of Rainbow Migration, a charity that provides practical and emotional support to LGBTQ+ people seeking asylum, described the Illegal Migration Bill as “a really cruel and callous piece of legislation” that “is a crisis of the government’s own making”.

READ MORE: ‘The government must stop punishing LGBTQ+ people for wanting to live safely’

“Nobody should be forced to go and live in another country, which is thousands of miles away, which they know very little about, and they may never even have heard of – and this shouldn’t happen to anyone,” she said.

“But on top of that, the countries that the government wants to send people to, a lot of them aren’t safe for LGBTQI+ people.

“The government wants to send people to countries like Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, and these are countries where the government has actually given refugee status to LGBTQI+ people.

“So this is a cruel and insensitive piece of legislation that will not help people who most of us would welcome and support to rebuild their lives.”

READ MORE: UK government’s asylum bill fails to consider safety of LGBTQ+ people, charity warns

She accused the legislation of being “racist” as it will “affect predominantly people of colour who are being made to feel unwelcome in this country”.

“There are no safe routes for LGBTQI+ people to flee violence that they’re facing in other countries to come to the UK,” Zadeh further explained. “So many people are forced into taking dangerous journeys because there is no alternative. And now the government is saying, ‘Because you took a dangerous journey, we’re not going to let you stay here’. But they have no other choice.”

“This is not a bill to be proud of”

Sebastian Rocca, the founder and CEO of Micro Rainbow, a charity that runs safe houses and socio-economic programmes for LGBTQ+ people fleeing persecution, told GAY TIMES that the bill “takes away basic human rights” from those most in need.

“For LGBTQI migrants it could result in torture, imprisonment or even death if they are not allowed to claim asylum and removed from the UK,” he explained.

“This is not a bill to be proud of. We all want a humane, dignified and fair asylum system in recognition of the fact that we are all humans – LGBTQI migrants are no exception.

“Those who are being targeted here are very vulnerable people who need the UK protection, not the traffickers.”

Now that the government has won the final series of votes, the bill will go for royal assent before becoming law – something expected to happen in a matter of days.

GAY TIMES has contacted the Home Office for comment.