People will have different views on this, but the information here comes from the Government and outlines their plans, while the questions and interpretation are New Bude & Beyond’s own:
The stated government aim is ending illegal entry as a route to asylum in the UK, so that people no longer risk their lives doing so.
It also aims to pull the plug from under criminal gangs organising these small boats.
No one wants people to risk their lives on small boat crossings because they cannot find a legitimate way to seek asylum. Additionally, no one condones the criminal gangs who exploit people at their most vulnerable.
It is questionable, of course, what these people seeking asylum are being told, and how much they understand about the system; one suspects they are often lied to and understand little.
So, the plan in the bill, introduced yesterday, is to:
- Detain people who arrive legally and swiftly remove them to their home country if safe, or another safe third country, such as Rwanda, “where they will be supported to rebuild their lives”.
- Anyone illegally entering the UK will be prevented from accessing the “UK’s world-leading” modern slavery support or abusing these laws to block their removal. Any other challenges or human rights claims can also only be heard after removal, remotely.
- Parliament will set an annual cap on the number of refugees settled via safe and legal routes, taking into account local authority capacity for housing, public services and the support communities rightly expect.
- The Home Secretary, currently Suella Braverman, will have the power to enforce it the new bill if it becomes law.
- Migrants may be detained for 28 days with no recourse for bail or judicial review, and then for as long as there is a reasonable prospect of removal.
- The annual number settled via safe and legal routes will be kept under review, and if there is a humanitarian crisis within the world that requires a response, then the UK will step up and offer sanctuary to those in need.
- Unaccompanied children – minors who come to the UK illegally will not be removed to a safe third country until they turn 18.
The measures are controversial.
Opponents suggest that the Government in breaking the law and possibly contravening the European Convention on Human Rights.
Much has been said about the Olympian, Mo Farah, who was trafficked here aged 9. Under the new rules, he would be returned to his country of origin at 18 (the home Secretary appears to struggle with this).
The UN Refugee Agency has expressed profound concern, and no one is quite sure how this will work in practice.
Currently, around 166,000 people are said to be awaiting a decision on their application for refugee status.