The Home Secretary put it best herself. Britain has been “taken for a ride” by illegal immigration. For too long, our sorry asylum system has been cynically exploited, and the public has had enough.
When Suella Braverman introduced the Government’s new Illegal Immigration Bill to the House of Commons yesterday, and when Rishi Sunak reported the details to the press last night, I finally felt a tipping point.
Braverman rightly told parliamentarians that our asylum system is not ‘fit for purpose’. Thousands of migrants are committing ‘flagrant’ violations of the law when they land on our shores in small boats.
For years politicians have promised to fix this, but the problem has only gotten worse.
The new bill, however, contains many of the ingredients that, as director of the Migration Watch UK think-tank, I believe are essential to resolving the Canal crisis.
The Home Secretary (pictured) put it best herself. Britain has been ‘taken for a ride’ by illegal immigration
When Suella Braverman introduced the government’s new illegal immigration bill to the House of Commons yesterday, and when Rishi Sunak (pictured) reported the details to the press last night, I finally felt a tipping point.
I have long argued that it is vital to enshrine in law the Home Secretary’s duty to detain people who arrive illegally until they can be transferred to their country of origin or to another country from which they can claim asylum.
Because? Because it makes a legal requirement for the minister to deal with the problem, instead of relying on immigrants not to break the rules.
New longer terms for detention, with expedited cases so that illegal immigrants can be processed for removal while detained, are also vital. Many illegal immigrants simply disappear into the underground economy and are rarely heard from again.
And since about 98 percent of those arriving by boat don’t have passports, authorities often have no way of knowing who they are.
British families and children must be protected from potential criminals who wash up on our shores and cannot be investigated.
I also applaud the proposal to prohibit those arriving by small boats or by any other illegal means from applying for asylum, with the intention of ending the business model of boat smugglers. And the government’s goal of restricting the use of appeals and judicial review by those trying to avoid deportation is also entirely sensible.
Incredibly, those who have been denied asylum have at least five different avenues to challenge the result, and if that fails, they can simply file a new application. The reality is that the system is too complex, with people often filing multiple claims and subsequent appeals or judicial review of decisions at the last minute. It’s a lawyer’s paradise and an insult to the taxpayer.
Alp Mehmet is the Chairman of Migration Watch UK
This bill, then, is a real opportunity for the Government to finally begin to end the illegal immigration crisis, an issue that has been stoked for so long by the left, the luvvies, the liberals, and the ‘borders. open’. fans.
The number of people boarding illegal boats has skyrocketed from fewer than 300 in 2018 to nearly 50,000 last year and the boats have become an armada. In 2018 the average number of occupants per vessel was seven; it has multiplied by six to 41 people per boat.
Asylum applications for principal applicants and their dependents reached 90,000 last year, more than at any time in the last two decades.
This unholy mess is costing taxpayers £3bn a year. And the demographic of mostly young men — 70 percent of those who cross the Canal illegally are between the ages of 18 and 39 — is stoking resentment and tensions in the cities where they meet.
And remember: many of those who enter the UK by boat do not come from a place of persecution but from safe countries such as Belgium or Albania via France. When they arrive on the shingle shores of Calais, they are not refugees fleeing persecution: they are economic immigrants who see the UK as their Eldorado. We are considered ripe for exploitation because our asylum system and enforcement regime have been appallingly lax.
So I welcome the new bill, but only as a starting point. There are several additional measures that need to be enacted to make sure it works to its full potential.
First, ministers must ensure that the new bill closes loopholes in the Human Rights Act and the Modern Slavery Act that have long been exploited by traffickers and activist lawyers.
I have doubts about the intent to accept anyone under the age of 18, even if they must be removed when they reach maturity. Age-for-asylum fraud is already widespread: Nearly half of settled age disputes reveal that those claiming to be children are actually adults, including several people in their late thirties.
Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai murdered Tom Roberts in Bournemouth last year. He told the Home Office that he was 14, but it was later discovered that he was at least 19 when he arrived in 2019.
Second, the practicalities of mass detention of illegal immigrants remain unclear. How can we commit to this new policy when we don’t have the capacity yet?
There are only 2,500 beds in Britain’s immigration detention centers, but every year tens of thousands of people arrive on the south coast. Prisons cannot be used.
The government has already announced plans to create an additional 1,000 places by reopening the disused centers Campsfield House, near Oxford, and Haslar, in Gosport, Hampshire, but the contracts cost £450m each for the taxpayer.
Therefore, a comprehensive return agreement with the French and other countries is essential.
I have long argued that it is vital to enshrine in law the Home Secretary’s duty to detain people who arrive illegally until they can be transferred to their country of origin or to another country from which they can claim asylum. Pictured: A group of migrants is washed ashore at Dungeness last year.
And these measures need to be backed by strict policing within the UK, especially for drug gangs. Of the more than 45,000 migrants who crossed the English Channel in 2022, 27% came from Albania, while the National Crime Agency warned that the country’s organized crime groups are trafficking workers to Britain to work in the drug trafficking, such as cannabis. farms If we can eradicate these industries, these criminals may be less inclined to use Britain as a base.
So yes, the new bill has shortcomings. But for the most part, this is a tough, unequivocal proposition that will, for the first time, have a chance to discourage people from risking their lives by jumping into flimsy boats and heading to Britain in the joyful expectation that once here they will be able to stay and enjoy all the benefits of life on these islands.
Of course the danger now is that as this bill progresses through Parliament it will be watered down (especially by the House of Lords) so that what eventually makes it to the statute book looks almost nothing like what Sunak and Braverman exposed yesterday.
The shackles of the European Court of Human Rights are also important, which could prove fatal. If Strasbourg intervenes, the prime minister may feel that he has to make concessions to appease the euro judges.
But in that case, I predict a public outcry. The ECHR cannot continue to be an obstacle to our post-Brexit government enforcing our laws, and what is in our best interests.
If the government fails to once again make good on its promise to resolve this crisis, more migrants will descend on our shores, more lives will be lost, the cost to the taxpayer will only increase, and the country will make its views known at the polls. .
Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman must control their nerves. Based on the evidence I saw yesterday, I think they will.
- Alp Mehmet is Chairman of Migration Watch UK.