Announce a new regulation in Parliament, recognizing that there is a risk that it may be inconsistent with Human Rights Law, perhaps not what is expected of one of the most established democracies in Europe. But it is precisely what happened this Tuesday in Westminster, where the Government of Rishi Sunak has announced the controversial Illegal Migration Bill.
The aim is to bar all those arriving via irregular routes from claiming asylum, sending them back to their countries of origin, Rwanda or another “safe destination” and barring them for life from entering the UK or claiming British citizenship. . The only ones who will be exempt They will be those under 18 years of age and sick people.
Celia Maza. London
Pragmatism and restraint had been the pillars on which Sunak had built his tenure since moving to Downing Street last fall. However, in terms of immigration, he is willing to impose a doctrine even tougher than that of his predecessors in the face of the great crisis that is taking place in the English Channel. Last year, more than 45,000 people reached British shores this wayin front of the 280 who did it in 2018date the records started.
Compared with other European countries, this might seem like a bit of an excessive number. In Spain, without going any further, in 2018 the number of people who reached the national territory irregularly it was a record 64,300. But the problem in the United Kingdom is that they are figures loaded with political symbolism. The great promise of Brexit was precisely that of “regaining control of the borders”, which is why the images of the small boats arriving at the beaches suppose a real humiliation for the ‘tories’.
Celia Maza. London
87% of the electorate —for whom immigration has now become a priority issue— considers that the Government is not managing the situation well. Hence, one year before the general elections, Sunak is now betting on drastic plans. He message to the voters and to his own ranks, since some deputies consider that he was excessively diplomatic last week with Brussels when closing the last pending chapter of Brexit. The problem is that the new migration strategy calls into question London’s commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Refugee Convention, which currently grant rights to asylum seekers arriving in the UK. Both the Labor opposition and humanitarian organizations consider that the regulations are “impracticable”.
The Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, in charge of announcing the law in the House of Commons on Tuesday under the watchful eye of Sunakhas stressed to parliamentarians that he is “sure” that the bill is consistent with international law, insisting that the government’s approach is “robust and novel”.
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In any case, Braverman has not yet presented the details of the bill, ensuring that it is still being worked on. “Today I will not address all the legal intricacies. Some of the nation’s leading legal minds have been and continue to be involved in its development”clarifies.
The fact that the minister has announced that the legislation will not come with a formal confirmation that it complies with human rights law, without explaining why, suggests that the State’s own lawyers they are warning you that the regulations could be torn to pieces in court.
All indications are that the bill would include a “Section 19(1)(b) statement” of the Human Rights Act 1998, recognizing that there is a risk that the measure could be inconsistent with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and its supervisory court in Strasbourg (which has nothing to do with the EU). The use of such a statement does not imply that the Government believes that the bill will actually violate the convention, but it cannot say with absolute confidence that it will not. The matter, therefore, could be legally challenged.
In a letter sent to the ranks ‘tories’, Braverman explains that it exists “just over 50%” that “the provisions of the new law are incompatible with the rights of the Convention” testing the limits, but we trust that the new text is compatible with international law”, he qualifies in the letter.
Should the case arise, would the Sunak government be considering abandon the European Convention on Human Rights? With the populist Boris Johnson, this question was raised. With Sunak’s moderate it is more difficult to believe. However, since his commitment to stopping illegal vessels is almost unconditional, you might expect the judges in Strasbourg to understand that if they meddle and overturn their decision, it will only be a matter of time before they leave.
This is at least the thesis now shared by some analysts, such as Patrick O’Flynn. “The strangest thing about all this is that we have a technocratic advocate of system changeconvinced of the need to alter the functioning of the British state in this matter”, pointed out in the magazine The Spectatorbible for the ‘tories’.
Although the biggest hurdle for the prime minister is probably not human rights lawyers, the House of Lords (where several amendments to the controversial bill are expected to be tabled) or the media, but the lack of confidence of the electorate.
While the bill would not become law for several months, it would apply retrospectively, meaning anyone arriving in the UK illegally from Tuesday would risk deportation. However, not many improvements are expected on the ground within a year, when the elections take place. And after so many years of broken conservative promises on illegal and legal immigrationmany of them broken by Boris Johnson himself, perhaps the voters have already lost faith.
If the plans manage to become law, they face to a lot of challenges for the judges. Among others, it is sought that people who arrive illegally in the United Kingdom do not have access to bail or judicial review in the first 28 days after their arrival. Under the new measures, they will be detained and deported to Rwanda or a “safe” third country, “as soon as reasonably possible”. Pending formalities, they could be transferred to two former RAF bases in Lincolnshire and Essex.
Currently, the government pays £6.8m a day to house asylum seekers. Today there is a cap of 100,000 requests and each one takes an average of 480 days to process.
The government already has a policy underway to deport some asylum seekers to Rwanda, but so far no one has been sent to this country. The trip of the first plane was canceled last June at the last minute, literally, due to the intervention of the European Court of Human Rights. Although last December, the UK High Court ruled that the policy was legal and did not breach the UN Refugee Convention.
Celia Maza. London
In an opinion piece for the sunSunak said that the United Kingdom had a “proud record of welcoming those most in need” and that the new measures were “fair to those who have a legitimate claim to asylum” who arrive by small boat are not directly fleeing a war-torn country or facing an imminent threat to life.”Instead, they have traveled through safe European countries before crossing the Channel. The fact that they can do it is unfair to those who come here legally and enough is enough.”
According to the BBC, Albanian drug gangs are using the migrant camps in northern France as recruitment, offering to pay the passage of those prepared to work in the UK drug industry upon arrival, which worries police on both sides of the English Channel.
Celia Maza. London
Albanians make up about a third of those who have arrived this year in small boats. Albania has agreed to swiftly readmit citizens denied the right to stay in the UK and has sent staff to help the British border police. But the country’s prime minister, Edi Rama, explains that the networks operating in northern France are international in nature, so his government has limits when it comes to addressing them.
Immigration will be one of the big issues to be discussed at the bilateral summit to be held this Friday by London and Paris, the first since 2018. The personal animosity between Boris JJohnson and Emmanuel Macron made any kind of cooperation difficultBut with Sunak’s arrival at Downing Street, a £63m deal was signed to increase by 40% the number of officers patrolling French beaches to deal with the crisis in the English Channel.
While waiting to know the details of the new law, humanitarian organizations such as the Refugee Council have already announced that the Executive’s new plans will lock up tens of thousands of individuals who really have the right to asylum “as criminals”.which would “break” London commitments under the UN refugee convention.
According to the NGO’s latest analysis, two-thirds of the people who crossed the English Channel last year should be granted asylum because they came from countries whose refugees have a high probability of success. Almost all immigrants from Afghanistan, Eritrea and Syria are granted asylum.
“Most of the men, women and children who cross the Channel do so because they are desperate to escape war, conflict and persecution. Faulty government legislation will not stop the ships, but it will result in tens of thousands of people are locked up in custody at enormous cost, permanently in limbo and treated like criminals simply for seeking refuge. It is impractical, expensive and will not stop ships.”denounces Enver Solomon, executive director of the NGO.