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UK: Charities, politicians, slam Sunak’s Illegal Immigration Bill

March 6, 2023 at 12:37 pm

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak departs 10 Downing Street for the House of Commons to attend the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) in London, United Kingdom on January 25, 2023. [Raşid Necati Aslım – Anadolu Agency]

Charities have criticised the government’s new plans to clamp down on refugees crossing the English Channel.

The legislation will mean the home secretary will remove as soon as possible anyone arriving on a small boat and send them to Rwanda or another third country.

This is despite the fact that in January the UK High Court granted an appeal to a charity which challenged the court’s decision that the government’s plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda was lawful.

Under the new legislation, details of which are set to be announced tomorrow, there are also plans to stop refugees who arrive on small boats returning and applying for a British passport in the future.

The bill also has a clause which allows conventions in the UN Refugee and the European Convention on Human Rights to be by-passed. Under these two conventions asylum seekers arriving in the UK currently have the right to seek protection.

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The ‘Illegal Migration Bill’ has been slated by human rights groups for avoiding responsibilities the UK has over asylum and for being costly and unworkable.

The Refugee Council has said that people will be left in permanent limbo and treated as criminals for seeking refuge.

Labour’s shadow health secretary has said that the government should ensure there are safe routes for arriving in the UK and speed up the processing of asylum claims.

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said that the asylum ban is immoral and inhumane.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has made stopping boats carrying refugees across the Channel one of his top priorities.

In December last year he introduced a five-point strategy to tackle immigration, which included cutting the bill for refugees staying in hotels, creating a new command centre, processing claims in days or weeks and bringing in new legislation to prevent refugees staying in the country.

Last year, almost 46,000 people crossed the English Channel in small boats, the highest number since 2018, which means the government’s plans have not deterred people from attempting to seek asylum there.