Anti-Asylum Bill offers performative cruelty over real solutions

Today, the Government will announce a new bill aimed at preventing people from seeking asylum in the UK after crossing the Channel.

The terms of the Bill would give the Home Secretary the legal duty to detain and deport people en masse without needing to review their claims for asylum under international law.

Opposition politicians, migration experts and advocates have slammed the Bill as unworkable and said that its vulnerability to legal challenge suggests that it is more about politics than ending dangerous crossings.

Critics have also highlighted that the Government claimed that the Nationalities and Borders Act, which was passed last year would also end dangerous channel crossings but which subsequently increased after the act was passed.

The increase in Channel crossings in the past years has followed the UK Government closing or failing to provide safe routes including for people fleeing war in Syria and persecution in Afghanistan. Reports last month suggested that Brexit was another principal factor.

Migration experts have criticised the Government’s punitive approach to addressing the problem saying that the best way to sustainably end small boat crossings is to reopen safe routes to seek asylum in the UK, in accordance with international law.

Naomi Smith, Chief Executive of Internationalist campaign group Best for Britain said,

“This Bill appears to be little more than performative cruelty. It is unlikely to deter any people already risking their lives and does nothing to address the main driver of these dangerous crossings, the Government’s deliberate closing down of safe asylum routes.

“Instead of looking for legal loopholes the Government must meet their international responsibilities. There is no such thing as an illegal asylum seeker.

In December, Best for Britain compiled a list of seven of the most common myths about migration to the UK, many of which are often parroted by politicians within and outside the Government.