Pirate Party MPs have ceased their filibuster of Jón Gunnarsson’s controversial immigration bill.
After an agreement to shelve further discussion of Minister of Justice Jón Gunnarsson’s immigration bill until after Christmas, parliament has resumed discussion for the sixth time. The bill is currently under discussion for the sixth time in Parliament, after it was shelved during the holidays, to be taken up in the new year. If passed into law, the bill would strip asylum seekers of their ability to seek social services 30 days after the rejection of their application. Concerns have also been raised about the rights of refugee children in the bill.
The Pirate Party have been especially vocal in their opposition to the bill, having unsuccessfully attempted to have the bill dismissed from the parliamentary agenda. They have likewise called for an independent third party to review the bill and whether it conforms to constitutional law. Other critics of the bill have included major nonprofits and NGOs, including the Red Cross in Iceland, the Icelandic branch of Amnesty International, Association 78, UNICEF, and other major organisations.
Now, however, their recent filibuster of the bill has come to an end. An official statement from the Pirates reads: “Although the bill has received serious criticism from commentators, the ruling majority in parliament has decided to keep the issue as a priority at the expense of other issues, instead of listening to the criticism and reforming the bill or withdrawing it.” They further urged their fellow MPs to “protect the constitution.”
Supporters of the bill have accused the Pirates of “taking Parliament hostage.” According to the Pirates, however, they only wanted to solicit further comment and discussion of the controversial bill.
In a statement to Vísir, Pirate MP Arndís Anna Kritínardóttir Gunnarsdóttir said: “We believe we have tried our best to provoke a democratic conversation, but the majority has not been willing to do so. If they consider the case to have been handled well enough, no one should have to fear an independent assessment of something as self-evident as whether the bill conforms to the provisions of the constitution.”