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UK’s Sunak pledges to halt cross-channel migration

UK’s Sunak pledges to halt cross-channel migration

UK’s Sunak pledges to halt cross-channel migration

UK’s Sunak pledges to halt cross-channel migration

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  • British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pledged on Tuesday to remove illegal migrants within weeks.
  • Last year, over 45,000 migrants arrived on the shores of southeast England on small boats.
  • According to Sunak, anyone arriving illegally in the UK will be unable to claim asylum under the draught law.
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In a controversial new plan to stop people crossing the Channel illegally on small boats, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pledged on Tuesday to remove illegal migrants within weeks.

Sunak was speaking after his Conservative government unveiled its proposals, which it admitted stretched international law, sparking a backlash from rights activists.

Last year, over 45,000 migrants arrived on the shores of southeast England on small boats, a 60% increase on a perilous route that has grown in popularity every year since 2018.

According to Sunak, anyone arriving illegally in the UK will be unable to claim asylum under the draught law, which will take effect on Tuesday.

“If you come here illegally, you can’t claim asylum. You can’t benefit from our modern slavery protections. You can’t make spurious human rights claims and you can’t stay,” he said.

“We will detain those who come here illegally and then remove them in weeks, either to their own country if it is safe to do so. Or to a Safe Third Country like Rwanda and once you are removed, you will be banned as you are in America and Australia from ever re-entering our country.”

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Sunak earlier Tuesday pledged in The Sun newspaper to “reclaim control of our borders once and for all,” reiterating a popular pledge made by campaigners like him who supported Britain’s Brexit from the European Union (EU).

Interior Minister Suella Braverman will be given a new legal duty to deport all migrants entering illegally, such as across the Channel, under the draught law, superseding their other rights under UK and European human rights law.

“The current situation is neither moral nor sustainable. It cannot go on,” Sunak added.

“And it’s devastatingly unfair on those who most need our help, but can’t get it as our asylum system is being overwhelmed by those travelling illegally across the channel,” he said.

Right-winger Braverman said in parliament she was “confident that this bill is compatible with international obligations” – despite conceding in an overnight article that it “pushed the boundaries of international law”.

Fleeing for their lives

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According to rights groups and opposition parties, the plan is unworkable and unfairly blames vulnerable refugees.

According to Christina Marriott, executive director of strategy for the British Red Cross, the UK would violate international asylum conventions.

“We wonder if you are fleeing persecution or war if you are running from Afghanistan or Syria and are in fear for your life, how are you going to be able to claim asylum in the UK?” she told Sky News.

Steve Valdez-Symonds of Amnesty International said it was “chilling to see ministers trying to remove human rights protections for groups of people whom they’ve chosen to scapegoat for their own failures”.

“People fleeing persecution and conflict will be irreparably harmed by these proposals,” he said in a statement.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said the plans amounted to an asylum ban and urged “more humane” solutions instead.

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So far this year, nearly 3,000 people have arrived by boat, often ending up in expensive hotels at taxpayer expense, and the backlog of asylum claims now exceeds 160,000.

The new plan would temporarily relocate illegal migrants to decommissioned military barracks and cap the annual number of refugees settled through safe and legal channels.

Profits for gangsters

The government, which is trailing in opinion polls, has been attempting to resolve the issue for years.

It had hoped that the threat of a one-way ticket to Rwanda, where migrants would stay if granted asylum, would deter cross-Channel travel.

However, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which is separate from the EU, blocked the plan announced by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson last year at the last minute.

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It was then upheld by the UK’s High Court, but it is still being challenged. There have been no flights to Rwanda as of yet.

According to reports on Tuesday, the government may withdraw from the ECHR if the Strasbourg-based court intervenes again in its latest legislation, following what Braverman called the court’s “opaque” ruling on Rwanda.

Sunak went on to say that illegal migration was a “shared challenge” with Europe’s allies, and that countries across the continent were considering new laws and policies to combat it.

He said a recent deal with the French had seen increased patrols on beaches and “significant and better cooperation and collaboration between our teams”.

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Rishi Sunak promises to stop small boat arrivals from the refuge
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