UK to stop illegal migrants entering on small boats
A new law set to go before the UK Parliament later will introduce new measures aimed at removing migrants entering the country on small boats.
The Illegal Migration Bill is set to prevent those arriving illegally from claiming asylum, and will block them from returning or seeking citizenship.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said it was “fair for those at home and those who have a legitimate claim to have asylum”.
Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer described the plans as “unworkable”.
meanwhile, Home Secretary, Suella Braverman said the bill would push “the boundaries of international law” without breaking it, stating that the measures were needed to “solve crisis”.
The government believes the issue of migrant crossings matters to voters and will be key at the next election, and ministers are prepared to test legal limits to address it.
More than 45,000 people entered the UK via Channel crossings last year, up from around 300 in 2018.
Under the proposals, the home secretary would be placed under a duty to remove those arriving illegally in the UK.
This would take precedence in law over someone’s right to claim asylum – although there would be exemptions for the under-18s and those with serious medical conditions.
While the bill would not become law for several months it would apply retrospectively, meaning anyone arriving in the UK illegally from Tuesday would be at risk of deportation.
The new laws are expected to strain the UN’s Refugee Convention on human rights, which currently gives rights to asylum seekers arriving in the UK.
Reports suggest the legislation will come with an unusual legal warning.
Every new bill must include an assurance to MPs that it complies with the Human Rights Act, but it is reported Tuesday’s package may instead come with a “Section 19b” statement.
Writing by Fany Olumoye