- Small-boat arrivals to be barred from claiming asylum.
- Charities concerned over new government plans.
- Opposition party says new law will not tackle problem.
LONDON: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has revealed a controversial law that stops the surge of illegal immigrants coming into the United Kingdom.
Sunak issued a strict warning that those who enter the country illegally would not be allowed to claim asylum.
“If you come here illegally, you can’t claim asylum. You can’t benefit from our modern slavery protections. You can’t make spurious human rights claims and you can’t stay,” Rishi Sunak said in a tweet.
“We will detain those who come here illegally and then remove them in weeks, either to their own country if it is safe to do so. Or to a Safe Third Country like Rwanda and once you are removed, you will be banned as you are in America and Australia from ever re-entering our country,” he added.
The bill is called the “illegal migration bill” and the draft law says that there will be a crackdown on those who will try to enter via small boats.
Suella Braverman, who is the interior minister of the UK, will be given the legal duty under the draft law, to deport the migrants entering illegally, such as across the English Channel.
“The current situation is neither moral nor sustainable. It cannot go on,” Sunak added.
“And it’s devastatingly unfair on those who most need our help, but can’t get it as our asylum system is being overwhelmed by those travelling illegally across the channel,” he said.
Reportedly, over 45,000 migrants reached the shores of southeast England via small boats just last year. That was a 60% annual increase on the same route which has grown famous since 2018.
Many rights groups have criticised the new law. Opposition parties have said the plan is unworkable. Some believe that the bill unfairly scapegoats vulnerable refugees.
“The legislation, if passed, would amount to an asylum ban – extinguishing the right to seek refugee protection in the United Kingdom for those who arrive irregularly, no matter how genuine and compelling their claim may be,” the UNHCR said in a statement.
It added that the bill would essentially be denying protection to many asylum seekers who are simply in need of “safety and protection”. The organisation called the bill a “clear breach of refugee convention”.
The UK has previously failed to implement deportations. Last year, a program was introduced to relocate some of the asylum seekers to Rwanda. But no flights left the country and the plan was grounded last June by an injunction from the European Court of Human Rights.