Home secretary announces bill to 'swiftly remove' Channel migrants

Suella Braverman announced a plan to stop people arriving to the UK by small boats.

Migrants on English Channel to be ‘swiftly removed’ under new UK bill, Suella Braverman announces Flickr

The home secretary has announced new legislation to block the number of migrants arriving in the UK by small boats.

Suella Braverman said the plans will mean authorities will be able to “swiftly” remove migrants travelling through the English Channel.

The Tory minister said the British people have been “taken for a ride” and that “enough is enough”.

She said it would “betray” British voters not to tackle the “waves of illegal migrants breaching our border”.

The Illegal Migration Bill would ban those deemed to have entered the UK illegally from seeking asylum.

It would also ban them from re-entering the UK in the future.

The announcement follows a sharp rise in migrants crossing the English Channel by small boats.STV News

Under the proposals, there would also be a cap on the number of migrants arriving in the UK via safe routes set up by the UK Government.

For those arriving by small boats, the plans would see the home secretary given responsibility to deport migrants “as soon as reasonably practicable”.

Opposition politicians and charities have accused the UK Government of abandoning its commitment to the UN Human Rights Convention to give people a fair hearing, regardless of how they arrive in the UK.

Labour said the bill lets people smugglers “off the hook”.

The party’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper described the government’s bill as “a con” and said it “isn’t a solution”

The UK Government is aiming to limit the number of small boat crossings on the English Channel after a sharp rise in those making the journey in recent years.

Some 45,000 people entered the UK last year, up from 300 in 2018.

Amid fears the bill is incompatible with international law, Braverman said she is “confident” it is.

But the home secretary admitted the bill “pushes the boundaries of international law” and said she couldn’t make a “definitive statement” on the compatibility of the legislation with the Human Rights Act.

She told the House of Commons on Tuesday: “To anyone proposing de facto open borders through unlimited safe and legal routes as the alternative, let’s be honest, there are a hundred million people around the world who could qualify for protection under our current laws.

“Let’s be clear, they are coming here. We’ve seen a 500% increase in small boats crossing in two years.

“This is the crucial point of this bill. They will not stop coming here until the world knows that if you enter Britain illegally you will be detained and swiftly removed.”

Braverman said when the boats stop the bill will introduce an annual cap on the number of refugees from safe routes designed by the UK Government.

She said that number is yet to be decided.

Under the legislation last-minute judicial reviews “conducted late at night with no chance to make our case or even appeal decisions” will no longer be allowed, Braverman told MPs.

The plans will make it possible to detain people for 28 days without bail or judicial review.

They also mean only people under 18, those medically unfit to fly or those at “real risk” if they return to the country the left will be able to lodge an appeal over their deportation.

Under the proposals, people won’t be able to use modern slavery laws to oppose the government.

The Labour Party’s shadow home secretary accused the UK Government of “groundhog day” over its plans.

Yvette Cooper said the UK Government's Illegal Migration Bill 'isn't the solution'.Parliament TV

Cooper said the Government had made similar proposals before but had failed to deliver on them.

She said: “If the Government was serious it would be working internationally to get a proper new agreement in place with France and Europe, including return agreements and properly controlled and managed legal routes such as family reunion and reform of resettlement. 

“Instead this Bill makes this harder, unilaterally choosing to decide no asylum cases at all but expecting every other country to carry on.” 

Enver Solomon, CEO of the Refugee Council, said: “The government’s new legislation ignores the fundamental point that most of the people in small boats are men, women and children escaping terror and bloodshed from countries including Afghanistan, Iran and Syria.

“The plans won’t stop the crossings but will simply leave traumatised people locked up in a state of misery being treated as criminals and suspected terrorists without a fair hearing on our soil.”

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