Today the largest crackdown on illegal migration in decades is unveiled.
Tough measures to tackle small boat arrivals will be rushed through parliament – and could be in place by the summer.
Sources close to Home Secretary Suella Braverman said the British have ‘had enough’ and promised ministers would tackle the Channel crisis with ‘no ifs, no buts’.
It is clear that a rarely used measure under human rights law – known as a section 19.1.B statement – will be used to get the legislation through parliament.
Ministers would have been advised that the proposals are legal, despite pushing the boundaries of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Tough measures to tackle small boat arrivals will be rushed through parliament – and could be in place by summer
Sources close to Home Secretary Suella Braverman said the British have ‘had enough’ and vowed ministers would tackle the Channel crisis with ‘no ifs, no buts’
Small boat migrants are not allowed to submit asylum applications and are not allowed to invoke human rights.
Almost anyone who arrives via illegal routes cannot appeal until they are deported.
Only children and the seriously ill are allowed to stay in Britain as they face legal challenges, Ms Braverman is expected to say.
The Home Secretary will be given a ‘duty of removal’ of migrants arriving illegally.
It is clear that asylum applications and human rights claims under the package will be “radically restricted”.
The sources close to Ms Braverman said: ‘The British people have had enough. This government is determined to stop the boats and ensure that we have all available powers to remove illegal migrants from the country.
“The Prime Minister and Home Secretary are determined to follow this course of action, no ifs, no buts.”
Another insider said: “This new duty of removal will ensure that the Home Secretary’s power to remove migrants takes precedence in law and ensures that asylum, human rights and modern slavery claims are blocked.”
In a separate development, the ministers have not given up on sending the first planeload of migrants to Rwanda this year. They are encouraged by the court’s ruling in December that the deal with the African country is lawful.
While the policy still faces legal challenges, ministers think it could even be possible for an asylum flight to start by the summer.
The full package of immigration measures will be unveiled later today by Rishi Sunak and Ms Braverman.
The Prime Minister has pledged to ‘stop the boats’ as one of his top five pledges to voters after Channel arrivals surged to nearly 46,000 last year.
Immigration laws that came into effect under Boris Johnson set out how the Home Secretary can declare a migrant’s claim inadmissible if they have passed through a safe third country such as France.
With today’s reinforced package, this will be applied almost across the board to all migrants.
The move expands on the powers Labor introduced in 2003 – ‘non-suspensive appeals’ – which allow asylum seekers to be removed after their initial application has been rejected.
The British people have had enough
However, the use of the powers has declined. There were 1,285 asylum cases scheduled for trial in 2018, but only 171 were eligible for trial in the first six months of last year.
The Illegal Migration Bill will also see Channel migrants banned for life from returning to Britain.
Ministers have insisted they can ignore last-minute interventions by Strasbourg judges.
A new Bill of Rights, published last June but currently on hold, states unequivocally that ‘no account should be taken of any provisional measures taken by the European Court of Human Rights’.
But it is not yet known whether today’s legislation will include the measures.
It is understood that a rarely used measure under the Human Rights Act – known as a section 19.1.B statement – will be deployed to get the legislation passed through parliament
Ministers are bracing for opposition from the Whitehall establishment – known as the ‘Blob’ – to their plan to deal with the Channel crisis.
Critics include former Home Office mandarin Sir David Normington, who said it was ‘highly doubtful’ that the proposals would lead to a drop in crossings.
Refugee charities and a union representing immigration officials were also among those who questioned early details of the plan.
Sir David told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘The core of the policy is a gamble that if you say it’s illegal to get into a small boat people won’t come again. I think that is very doubtful.’
He predicted that the government’s plan would run into “very big” problems.
Lucy Moreton of the Immigration Services Union also questioned the plans, describing them as “pretty confusing.”
Enver Solomon of the Refugee Council described the legislation as flawed, adding: ‘It is unworkable, costly and will not stop the boats.’
Steve Valdez-Symonds of Amnesty International UK condemned the proposed measures as ‘disgraceful posturing and scare tactics’.
When asked if the plan was legally viable, Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer replied: ‘I don’t know if it is and I think we have to be very careful about international law here.’
But the Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “We have seen too many lives lost on this dangerous and unnecessary journey, and the number of people entering the country is simply unsustainable. As we’ve always said, we recognize that this type of legislation is likely to be challenged in many forms.”
A spokesman for No. 10 said the government would stop all small boats, but refused to put a timetable on the plans.