British Government Proposes Controversial Migration Plan in Parliament
In the House of Commons, the British parliament, Home Secretary Suella Braverman has proposed a new law to stop migrants and refugees crossing the Channel.
The bill is controversial, and Braverman acknowledges that it could face a legal challenge. “But because of the current global migration crisis, yesterday’s laws simply miss their target,” says the minister.
The “Illegal Migration Bill” mainly targets people crossing the Channel in boats. Migrants and refugees crossing the Channel from France can no longer apply for asylum on arrival in the UK. Instead, they will be detained for up to 28 days and then sent away to their home country or a third country, such as Rwanda, with which the British government has already signed an agreement. They will also be banned for life from entering the UK.
Exceptions are only for children, people who cannot fly for medical reasons or who are seriously risking their lives. “If you enter Britain illegally, you will be detained and quickly deported,” Home Secretary Suella Braverman reiterated the new law.
She says the UK government has “pushed the boundaries of international law” but is aware that the bill may be challenged in court. She acknowledges that there is a chance that the law may conflict with UK human rights laws. But according to her, he is compatible with the international conditions imposed on the country by refugee and human rights treaties. “Given the current global migration crisis, yesterday’s laws simply miss the mark,” the minister said in parliament.
The opposition and human rights organizations have strongly criticized the plan. They call it inhumane, expensive and practically unfeasible. The previously proposed (and legally challenged) Rwanda deal also received the same criticism. Incidentally, not one deportation to Rwanda has taken place: the first planned deportation flight was stopped by the European Court of Human Rights.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is under significant pressure from his backers to tackle illegal migration, said the UK would “take back control of our borders once and for all”. With those words, he echoes the promise of Brexit supporters in the run-up to Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Secretary of the Interior Braverman says the strict approach is necessary because the system is “overwhelmed” and needs to stop the influx of boat people. Last year, 45,000 people arrived in the UK by boat. A number that has risen systematically: in 2021, it was still 28,000; in 2020, it was 8,500 people. The number is significantly lower than in a country like Italy, where about 100,000 migrants and refugees entered the country via the Mediterranean last year.