The UK government said it was going to pass a law banning the settlement of anyone who arrives in small boats across the English Channel on Monday.
The UK government said the bill, expected to be unveiled on Tuesday, would bar anyone who arrives in the UK without prior authorization from claiming asylum and would require the government to detain and deport them “to their home country or a safe third country”.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the law would stop the “immoral” business of smuggling gangs that send desperate people on dangerous journeys along one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.
Sunak made stopping boats one of his “five promises” to voters, along with halving inflation, spurring economic growth, reducing public debt, and cutting medical waiting lists.
Critics say the plan is unethical and unworkable as people fleeing war and persecution cannot be sent home and is likely to be the latest in a series of unfulfilled immigration obligations by the UK. government.
The British government says many of those who make the trip are economic migrants, not refugees, and points to a surge in arrivals last year from Albania, a European country, rather than the UK. considered safe.
Over 45,000 people arrived in the UK by boat in 2022, up from 28,000 in 2021 and 8,500 in 2020. Most have applied for asylum, but a backlog of over 160,000 cases has left many of them languishing in overcrowded processing centers or hotels without the right to work
The UK is hosting fewer asylum seekers than some European countries – nine per 100,000 people in 2021 compared to the European Union average of 16 per 100,000 people. Thousands of migrants from all over the world travel to the north of France every year hoping to reach the UK.
Most are trying to travel in boats and other small craft now that authorities have tightened up other routes, such as taking shelter on buses or trucks.
Refugee groups say most of those arriving at the canal are fleeing war, persecution or starvation in places like Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq. Most of those whose applications were considered were granted asylum in the UK.
Refugee charities and human rights groups say many migrants are at risk of crossing the English Channel because there are few safe and legal ways to enter the UK. but has not given details yet.
“Imperfect government legislation will not stop trials, but will result in tens of thousands of people being locked up for huge amounts of money, constantly in limbo and being treated like criminals simply for seeking asylum,” he said. . Enver SolomonExecutive Director UK Refugee Council. “It’s not feasible, it’s expensive and it won’t stop boats.”