Government to launch bill to stop people arriving on small boats from claiming asylum
Campaigners and Members of Parliament (MPs) are criticising Rishi Sunak’s proposal to deem asylum claims from individuals who arrive in small boats as inadmissible, describing it as “inhumane” and a diversion from the government’s failures (Cost of living crisis, NHS strikes, waiting lists, covid contracts scandal, their handling of the pandemic response).
It is anticipated that the Prime Minister will outline the government’s intentions, which will entail removing migrants to a third nation, such as Rwanda, and prohibiting them from returning or claiming citizenship.
One of Mr. Sunak’s five primary objectives was stated to be “stopping the boats.” Last year, a record-breaking 45,756 individuals traversed the Channel, representing a 60% increase from the previous year. Furthermore, over 2,500 people have arrived in Britain in the same manner thus far this year.
The government has been transparent about its stringent immigration policy, with Home Secretary Suella Braverman referring to the number of arrivals on the southern coast as an “invasion” and stating that it was her “obsession” to see a deportation flight to Rwanda.
Michelle Donelan, a Cabinet minister, stated, “This week we will be bringing forward additional legislation, which is based on the principle that if people travel here via illegal routes they shouldn’t be allowed to stay, which I think is common sense and right and the correct approach.”
However, the new legislation is expected to encounter significant legal obstacles as some are concerned that it violates the European Convention on Human Rights.
Nazek Ramadan, the director of Migrant Voice UK, argued that the proposal would not only strip people of their right to seek refuge in the United Kingdom but also penalise them for doing so. She asserted, “This is cruel, inhumane, and illegal under international law.”
“Instead of using people seeking safety as scapegoats for political gain, the government should come up with workable, fair and humane policies and safe routes for all who need protection.”
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants said that if the government had compassion and sense, it would introduce safe routes, the right to work and allow people to settle in Britain’s communities.
“Instead they ramp up cruelty towards, and demonisation of, people seeking safety here whenever it’s politically convenient to,” it said in a statement.
“We have to call out government’s deplorable divide-and-rule politics for what they are.”
The group said it was no coincidence that the announcement comes as the government is “rightly feeling the heat” over Covid care home deaths, NHS waiting times and the cost-of-living crisis gripping the nation.
Refugee Council chief executive Enver Solomon said the plans are “flawed” and would result in tens of thousands locked up in detention at huge costs.
Freedom from Torture chief executive Sonya Sceats said it would not reduce the number of deaths in the Channel or the “chaos and incompetence that blights our asylum system.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer suggested the move was a political tactic ahead of May’s local elections and questioned its legality.
Former home secretary Diane Abbott said that the PM “must know that policy will not work.”
The Labour MP tweeted: “It is simply a disgraceful ‘core vote’ strategy — because he has nothing else to fight the next general election with.”
Her colleague Bell Ribeiro-Addy said: “Criminalising and punishing people for fleeing war and persecution isn’t the answer. Expanded safe routes are.
“But as living standards plunge and public services fall apart, the Tories are desperately stepping up their attack on refugees and asylum-seekers.”
Green MP Caroline Lucas said that the plan shows that the government is “incompetent as well as inhumane.”
She said: “Its Orwellian proposal to send asylum-seekers back if they don’t use safe and legal routes — that don’t exist — is grotesque and unworkable. “Performative politics at its worst.”
Content submitted by Marcus Wiseman, 8th March 2023