Channel migrants face ‘ban’ on claiming asylum in UK
Migrants crossing the Channel will reportedly face a ban from claiming asylum in Britain under plans due to be announced by the Home Secretary.
At the Conservative Party conference, Suella Braverman will use her first major speech since taking on the role to set out the proposals, according to The Times.
The new laws – which go further than the Nationality and Borders Act which came into force in June – would impose a blanket ban on anyone deemed entering the UK illegally from seeking refuge, the newspaper said.
The announcement will mark the latest attempt by the Government to curb the growing numbers of Channel crossings after its flagship policy to send migrants on a one-way trip to Rwanda stalled amid legal challenges.
So far this year more than 33,500 people have arrived in the UK after making the journey from France.
Campaigners described the anticipated announcement as “further attacks on genuine refugees” and a “blatant breach” of Britain’s international obligations.
Clare Mosley, founder of refugee charity Care4Calais, said: “This proposal by the new Home Secretary is barbaric, untruthful and unnecessary. The Government’s rhetoric around people crossing the Channel is simply false. There is a mountain of evidence that the vast majority are genuine refugees; this criminalisation of them is blatant victim blaming of incredibly vulnerable people, simply for the purpose of grabbing headlines.
“Those who have escaped from the worst horrors in this world should not be risking their lives once again simply to claim asylum in the UK. The obvious answer is to give them safe passage. This would break the model of people smugglers and save lives.
“If this Government truly wanted to stop small boat crossings it would offer safe passage to those who have a viable claim for asylum.”
Refugee Action’s chief executive Tim Naor Hilton branded it a “day of shame for the Government”, adding: “It is now clear that this Home Secretary cares only for keeping people out, not keeping them safe. Banning those crossing the Channel from claiming asylum is a blatant breach of the international refugee laws that the UK proudly helped create in the first place.
“The Government cannot continue to run roughshod over its international responsibilities and threaten refugees with deportation or jail simply for asking for help. It must change tack and create a protection system based on compassion and justice.”
According to an extract of her speech, Ms Braverman will promise to allow “the kind of immigration that grows our economy” but “end abuse of the rules” as she addresses delegates.
She will set out her intention to ensure that the UK’s policy on illegal immigration cannot be derailed by modern slavery laws, the Human Rights Act or the European Court of Human Rights.
Ms Braverman is expected to call for the French to stop more boats crossing the Channel and confirm she is considering other new legislation to make it easier to deport people from the UK.
She is also said to be planning to make more use of detention centres to hold migrants.
Ms Braverman will tell the conference in Birmingham: “It’s right that we extend the hand of friendship to those in genuine need.
“This country has always done so. It did so for my father in the 1960s as a young man from Kenya. We have now welcomed hundreds of thousands of people fleeing Syria, Hong Kong, Afghanistan and Ukraine.
“At the same time we should use our newfound control to deliver the kind of immigration that grows our economy, for example that helps projects that have stalled or builds relationships with our friends and allies.
“Parts of the system aren’t delivering. We need to end abuse of the rules and cut down on those numbers that aren’t meeting the needs of our economy.”
Channel crossings continued on Tuesday after the Ministry of Defence (MoD) recorded 541 arrivals in nine boats on Monday.
In September, 7,961 made the crossing to the UK.
August 22 saw a record 1,295 migrants making the journey in a single day.
Officials estimate as many as 60,000 people could arrive by the end of 2022, more than double last year’s total of 28,526.
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