The British Immigration Minister, on Tuesday, defended the government’s controversial illegal Migration Bill, saying it is “the single most significant piece of immigration legislation of modern times”, Anadolu News Agency reports.
Pointing out the dramatic increase in small boat crossings, Robert Jenrick said that there has been more than a 400 per cent increase in these small boat arrivals in the last two years.
“Every crossing is a potential tragedy,” he noted at an event organised by the Policy Exchange think tank.
Saying that illegal migration will be one of the defining characteristics of the 21st century, Jenrick stressed that how to stop it and how to maintain sovereign borders will also be one of the “defining policy questions of our time”.
“The basic fact is undeniable that the number of people who are willing and able to reach the UK today is astronomical and vastly outnumbers what we are capable or willing to take as a country,” he stated.
Citing the UNHCR’s numbers, the Minister said that there are now more than 100 million people displaced globally. “And these numbers are rising fast.”
“The current numbers of people arriving here illegally surpass any reasonable numbers that the state could be expected to provide for, or integrate successfully into our national community,” he added.
Conservatives should not “shy away from their belief” that the nation has a right to preserve itself, said Jenrick, adding: “Excessive uncontrolled migration threatens to cannibalise the compassion that marks out the British people.”
He said the Bill enables the detention of illegal arrivals without bail or judicial review.
He said that with this Bill, those that make illegal journeys “must know that it will be a futile endeavour.”
“That’s why the UK government has brought forward the Migration Bill, which I would argue is the single most significant piece of immigration legislation of modern times,” added the Minister.
The Bill has been met with criticism from human rights organisations and refugee advocates, who argue that it violates international law and the UK’s obligations under the Refugee Convention.
Lastly, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHCR), an executive non-departmental public body in the UK, on Monday reiterated its opposition to the illegal Migration Bill.
More than 44,000 migrants arrived in the UK crossing the English Channel last year.