British Home Secretary Priti Patel introduced this new asylum and immigration law in the House of Commons on Tuesday. Given the majority of the Conservative Party, it will almost certainly pass.
The new legislation provides for two types of asylum seekers: those who enter the country legally and those who do not. The latter will have a tough time regarding Patel. Illegal immigrants can stay on the island for up to thirty months, even if they have a legitimate asylum application. Access to financial assistance is significantly restricted, as is the possibility of family reunification.
These measures are aimed primarily at combating canal migration. Inflatable boats carrying migrants arrive every day from France, especially in the summer. The French seem to be doing little to stop the migrants from going out to sea. It appears that the British Coast Guard is already picking up migrants in French waters.
In the first six months of this year, there were 6,000 immigrants, compared to 8,417 in all of 2020. This is low compared to the numbers of immigrants that southern European countries receive from North Africa, but high enough to pose a political problem.
The growing number of migrants is at odds with regaining control of their borders, which is one of the goals of Britain’s exit from the European Union. The image of boats full of migrants, regularly highlighted by politician Nigel Farage, is bad for the image of Patel and the conservative government.
However, Britain is a popular destination, which is why smugglers smell their chances. Traders can expect higher penalties in the future. The maximum penalty is from 14 years imprisonment to life imprisonment.
Where there are still buses ready to send the migrant boat to the shelters, there is a risk of arrest in the future. During the asylum procedure, they will have to deal with a heavier burden of proof than their fellow sufferers who have arrived on the island through legal means, for example through a UN programme. Job opportunities are very limited.
Immigrant organizations express their outrage at “anti-refugee legislation”. Patel was accused of criminalizing refugees. The refugee organization Refugee Council has calculated that the 9,000 asylum seekers who will now be accepted under the new rules hardly stand a chance.
The new law also gives the government the ability to receive asylum seekers in overseas territories, with the UK following Australia’s example. Leaked documents earlier this year revealed that Ascension Island is under study.
Decommissioned ferries and even oil rigs have also been mentioned as potential shelters. To ensure that her “strict but fair” policy was properly implemented, Patel replaced the leadership of the immigration service.
Patel also plans to speed up the deportation of rejected asylum seekers. Now it regularly happens that the flight extension cannot take off because a last minute interception was submitted. It won’t happen in the future anymore.
To prove that the wind is under her, the minister recently caught herself during the arrest of a people smuggler in East London. The controversial nature of Patel’s policy was evident last month in Glasgow, where a mob thwarted the expulsion of Indians.
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