UK government pushes bill to crack down on illegal immigration and keep migrants abroad

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The UK government on Tuesday introduced legislation that would usher in a sweeping crackdown on illegal immigration – with new penalties for those who enter the country illegally and permission for the government to keep migrants in offshore detention centers.

“If you enter the UK illegally through a safe country where you could have applied for asylum, you are not seeking to protect yourself from imminent danger – as is the aim of the system – but choose the UK United as a preferred destination over others, “Home Secretary Priti Patel wrote in the Daily Mail.

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The Nationality and Borders Bill, which has a high chance of being passed given the ruling Conservative Party’s overwhelming majority in the House of Commons, saw its first reading in the House on Tuesday. The bill will create a new criminal offense for “knowingly” entering the country illegally as part of a number of measures to prevent illegal immigration.

Illegal entry will also adversely affect a migrant’s asylum claim, and these migrants will only receive temporary protected status rather than a right to settle, and will be subject to regular review of their status.

Patel also pledged to limit eviction appeals. “It’s sickening that so many people who are not allowed to be here can play the system and prevent us from taking them out,” she said.

The bill also gives the country’s border patrol more powers of arrest and provides for longer prison terms for smugglers and gangs who help migrants enter the UK illegally.

“We will prevent these dangerous trips to the UK by breaking the business model of criminal gangs,” Patel wrote. “Profiting from illegal migration to Britain will no longer be worth the risk, with new maximum life sentences for smugglers.”

FILE - In this file photo from Thursday, January 21, 2021, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel speaks during a press briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic in Downing Street, London.  (AP Photo / Matt Dunham, Pool, File)
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FILE – In this file photo from Thursday, January 21, 2021, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel speaks during a press briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic in Downing Street, London. (AP Photo / Matt Dunham, Pool, File)

The interior ministry said it would also speed up deportations of failed asylum seekers and better integrate resettled refugees.

The bill also includes provisions to build processing centers for migrants abroad, similar to plans currently in place in countries like Denmark and Australia. The Times of London reported that British officials had been in contact with their Danish counterparts, including over the “potential” of sharing facilities. The Danes are believed to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, the Times reported.

The bill represents one of the Conservative government’s most aggressive moves to keep its promise to voters to crack down on illegal immigration and asylum fraud – part of a set of promises that have helped keep the 2019 general election and other victories by appealing to traditionally worker-owned Workers’ Zones on issues such as Brexit, crime and immigration.

The government had initiated several rounds of talks with France on the issue of cooperation on asylum. Migrants have regularly arrived either in small boats or hidden in trucks and vehicles traveling from the port of Calais to the UK via the tunnel or ferry system.

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However, despite the talks, the migrants kept coming. The Times reported that more than 300 migrants arrived in the UK on the last weekend of June, and around 6,000 have arrived this year in total.

The plan has come under heavy criticism from those on both sides of the issue amid questions about whether it can survive legal scrutiny. Former UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, who led the Brexit fight and called for lower immigration levels, called Patel’s plans to toughen sanctions “almost meaningless “.

“Not only does Britain not have enough jail places for thousands of new offenders every month, but this country’s continued acceptance of the European Convention on Human Rights ensures that there would be endless legal challenges, ”Farage wrote in The Daily Telegraph. “Even if Patel’s plan worked, many hard-pressed taxpayers will wonder why they should pay for foreigners to occupy Britain’s notoriously expensive prison cells.”

Meanwhile, the Labor Party criticized the plan as evidence of a lack of compassion and competence.

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“These plans are inadmissible – and an attempt to create a smokescreen to distract from the fact that ministers failed to reopen safe and legal roads, failed to reach an effective deal with France to fight criminal gangs and have failed to introduce effective border measures to prevent the Delta variant from gaining a foothold in this country, “Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said in a statement.

Britain’s crackdown on illegal immigration and moves to deny or keep migrants in centers outside the country stands in stark contrast to what is happening in the United States now.

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President Biden unraveled a number of border protections established under the Trump administration, including the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which kept migrants in Mexico while they awaited their hearings.

His administration also ended asylum cooperation agreements with the Northern Triangle countries that required migrants to seek asylum in countries they arrived in before traveling to the United States.

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