Plans to tackle the Channel migrant crisis today ran into opposition from the Whitehall ‘Blob’ establishment.
The Government is preparing a major immigration bill to deliver on Rishi Sunak’s promise to “stop the boats”.
But he has come under fire from senior civil service officials even before the details have been revealed.
One former mandarin said it was “very doubtful” the proposals would lead to a decline in crossings. Charities also criticized the plans.
The new legislation is expected to strengthen measures that allow asylum claims to be declared “inadmissible.”
A group of migrants arrives in Dover today on a Border Force boat
Migrants housed at Napier Barracks in Folkestone, Kent, on March 6
It is also expected to restrict people’s ability to use human rights laws to avoid being sent home.
The Mail revealed this morning that the Illegal Migration Bill will contain lifetime bans on those arriving via “irregular routes”, such as in small boats.
Sunak is expected to speak to French President Emmanuel Macron later today and lay the groundwork for a summit on Friday, when the Channel crisis will top the agenda. He has pledged to “rapidly detain and expel” Channel migrants, of whom almost 46,000 arrived last year.
However, former Home Office permanent secretary Sir David Normington today predicted the Government’s plan would face “very big” problems.
“These are people, many of whom are desperate, have fled persecution, and to be told that there has been a change in legislation in the British Parliament, I don’t think it’s going to make a big difference to them,” he told her. to the BBC. Radio 4 Today Program.
‘And then the Government has to do something with them. He says he will detain them for 28 days and then deport them.
‘But where are you going to stop them, because you don’t have space?
‘And where are you going to deport them, because you don’t have agreements with enough countries that are safe?’
Lucy Moreton, of the Immigration Services Union, also cast doubt on the proposals.
“The plans as they’ve been announced are actually quite confusing,” he told the Today show.
‘We cannot transfer anyone to Rwanda at this time; is subject to legal challenge. We cannot expel anyone back to Europe because there are no return agreements and we lost access to the database that allows us to prove that people have applied for asylum in Europe (Eurodac) when we left with Brexit.
“So unless we have a safe third country other than Rwanda to send people to, this just doesn’t seem to be possible.”
Ms Moreton, who represents immigration officials, said the Government’s announcements could “fuel” people trafficking, with gangs telling would-be migrants “quickly, cross now before something changes”.
Enver Solomon of the Refugee Council called the plans “flawed”, adding: “It is impractical, expensive and will not stop the boats.”
He suggested the proposals would “break the UK’s long-standing commitment under the UN Convention to give people a fair hearing regardless of the path they have taken to reach our shores”.
The Government is preparing a major immigration bill to deliver on Rishi Sunak’s promise to ‘stop the boats’
Amnesty International UK’s Steve Valdez-Symonds condemned the measures as “disgraceful posturing and scaremongering”.
Downing Street insisted it was vital to act to prevent more lives being lost on the dangerous crossing from northern France.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: ‘We first need people to wait for the actual details of the policy to be published before giving their opinion.
‘We have seen too many lives lost attempting this dangerous and unnecessary journey, and the number of people entering the country is simply unsustainable.
“As we have always said, we recognize that there will likely be challenges in many ways to this type of legislation.”
He said Sunak believed there was no need to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights.
Cabinet minister Michelle Donelan said: “This week we will be introducing further legislation, which is based on the principle that if people travel here on illegal routes they should not be allowed to stay, which I believe is right and common sense. “.
‘Those ships are not full of people from countries that desperately need help.
“Many times they are full of people who are actually economic migrants and who have also been exploited by criminal gangs who take their money on a very dangerous journey.”
Asked whether the plan was legally viable, Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer replied: “I don’t know if it is and I think we need to be very careful about international law here.”