The Minister of the Interior said so herself. Britain has been ‘taken for a ride’ by illegal migration. For too long, our deplorable asylum system has been callously exploited – and the public is fed up.
Yesterday, as Suella Braverman presented the Government’s new Illegal Immigration Bill in the Commons, and Rishi Sunak briefed the press on it last night, I finally sensed a turning point.
Braverman rightly told MPs that our asylum system is not “suitable”. Thousands of migrants commit “flagrant” violations of the law by landing on our shores in small boats.
For years, politicians have promised to fix this problem, but the problem has only gotten worse.
The new bill does, however, contain many ingredients which, as head of the Migration Watch UK think tank, are, in my view, essential to resolving the Channel crisis.
The Home Secretary (pictured) said it best herself. Britain has been ‘taken for a ride’ by illegal migration
Yesterday, as Suella Braverman presented the Government’s new Illegal Immigration Bill in the Commons, and Rishi Sunak (pictured) briefed the press on it last night, I finally felt a turning point.
I have long argued that it is vital to enshrine in law a requirement for the Home Secretary to detain illegal arrivals until they can be returned to their country of origin or to a another country from which they can seek asylum.
For what? Because it places a legal obligation on the minister to fix the problem, rather than relying on migrants not to break the rules.
New longer detention times, with expedited cases so that illegal immigrants can be processed for deportation while in detention, are also essential. Many illegal migrants simply disappear into the underground economy and are rarely heard from again.
And since some 98% of those arriving by boat do not have passports, authorities often have no way of knowing who they are.
British families and children must be protected from potential criminals who arrive on our shores and who cannot be controlled.
I also applaud the proposal to bar those who arrive in small boats or by any other illegal means from claiming asylum – intended to cut the business model of boat traffickers. And the government’s goal of restricting the use of remedies and judicial review by those trying to avoid deportation is also entirely sensible.
Incredibly, those denied asylum have at least five different avenues to challenge the outcome – and if that fails, they can simply reapply. The reality is that the system is far too complex, with people often filing multiple claims and subsequent appeals or judicial reviews 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 is therefore a real chance for the government to finally begin to put an end to the crisis of illegal immigration – a problem that has been fueled for so long by the left, the luvvies, the liberals and the “frontiers open”. ‘ fanatics.
The number of people climbing in illegal dinghies has risen from less than 300 in 2018 to almost 50,000 last year and the boats have turned into an armada. In 2018, the average number of occupants per boat was seven; it was multiplied by six to reach 41 people per canoe.
Asylum applications for principal applicants and their dependents reached 90,000 in the past year, more than at any time in the past two decades.
This unholy mess is costing taxpayers £3billion a year. And the population of mostly young men – 70% of illegal cross-Channels are between 18 and 39 years old – stirs up resentment and tensions in the towns where they are placed.
And remember: many of those who enter the UK by boat do not come from a place of persecution but from safe countries like Belgium or Albania via France. By the time they reach the stony shores of Calais, they are not refugees fleeing persecution – they are economic migrants who see the UK as their El Dorado. We are seen as ripe for exploitation because our asylum system and our enforcement regime have been appallingly lax.
So I welcome the new bill — but only as a starting point. Several other measures must be adopted to ensure that it functions to its full potential.
First, ministers must ensure the new bill closes loopholes in human rights law and modern slavery law that traffickers and activist lawyers have long exploited.
I am particularly dubious about the intention to accept anyone under the age of 18, even if they are to be removed when they reach maturity. Asylum age fraud is already widespread – with nearly half of resolved age disputes revealing those claiming to be children are in fact adults, including a number of people in their 30s.
Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai murdered Tom Roberts in Bournemouth last year. He told the Home Office he was 14, but it was later discovered he was at least 19 when he arrived in 2019.
Second, the practicalities of the mass detention of illegal migrants remain unclear. How to engage in this new policy when we do not yet have the capacity?
There are just 2,500 beds in UK migrant detention centers – yet tens of thousands of arrivals land on the south coast every year. Prisons cannot be used.
The government has already announced plans to create an additional 1,000 places by reopening disused centers Campsfield House, near Oxford, and Haslar, in Gosport, Hampshire – but the contracts are costing the taxpayer dearly at £450m each.
A comprehensive return agreement with France and other countries is therefore essential.
I have long argued that it is vital to enshrine in law a requirement for the Home Secretary to detain illegal arrivals until they can be returned to their country of origin or to a another country from which they can seek asylum. Pictured: A group of migrants are brought ashore in Dungeness last year
And these measures need to be backed up by strict policing in the UK, especially for drug gangs. Of the more than 45,000 migrants who made the cross-Channel journey in 2022, 27 per cent came from Albania – while the National Crime Agency has warned that organized crime groups in the country are smuggling workers into Britain to work in the drug trade, 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 flaws. But for the most part, it is a tough, unambiguous proposal that, for the first time, will have a chance of succeeding in deterring people from risking their lives by jumping into flimsy boats and heading for the Britain in the gleeful hope 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 (particularly by the House of Lords) so that what ends up in the statute book will not will bear almost no resemblance to what Sunak and Braverman posed yesterday.
The chains of the European Court of Human Rights also weigh heavily, which could prove fatal. If Strasbourg intervenes, the prime minister may feel compelled to compromise to appease European judges.
But in this case, I predict a public outcry. The ECHR cannot stand in the way of our government’s enforcement of our laws post-Brexit – and that is in our best interest.
If the government once again fails to deliver on its promise to resolve this crisis, more migrants will land on our shores, more lives will be lost, the cost to the taxpayer will only increase – and the country will make its point known. seen at the ballot box.
Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman need to keep their cool. From the evidence I saw yesterday, I believe they will.
- Alp Mehmet is chairman of Migration Watch UK.