In the early hours of this morning, the so-called 'Illegal Migration Bill' was passed by the House of Lords meaning it is expected to become law this week.
The move will deny refugees and asylum seekers their rights under international law by giving the Home Secretary a legal imperative to detain people arriving in the UK en-masse and deport them to a third country without hearing their case to claim asylum.
It is part of the Government's 'Rwanda plan' which was ruled as unlawful by the UK Court of Appeal last month. In a two-to-one decision, the Court found that the Home Office could not guarantee the safety of people sent to Rwanda under the scheme, citing a history of human rights abuses toward refugees in the country. The Government has already spent at least £140m on the scheme.
The Court's ruling has raised questions on how the law will help the Government reduce the massive backlog of asylum claims which they have allowed to reach record levels, delaying the ability of refugees to rebuild their lives in Britain, instead keeping them in hotels and soon barges, at great expense to the taxpayer.
Experts have also questioned the efficacy of the plan as a deterrent for people already fleeing war, torture and persecution and who have been forced to make dangerous crossings across the English Channel after the Government closed safe routes to asylum in the UK.
Last November, the Home Secretary was unable to say how someone could seek asylum in the UK via regular means.
Naomi Smith, CEO of Best for Britain, said:
“Today is a dark day. This cruel bill will now give the Government the green light to flout international law and mistreat refugees to distract from their own failure to fix the problems they created when ministers closed safe routes to asylum.
“This policy is not only morally repugnant, it is totally unworkable; with no agreement with a safe third country it simply creates the need for the government to detain a growing pool of people at great cost to the taxpayer rather than allowing them to rebuild their lives here.”