Stopping illegal immigration is a priority for British people, says Sunak

Preventing illegal immigrants from reaching Britain’s shores in small boats is a priority for the British people, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said, defending the government’s plans to crack down on illegal crossings in the English Channel.

The UK government on Tuesday unveiled an illegal immigration bill that would bar those who arrived in the UK illegally from applying for asylum.

Under the new law, illegal immigrants will be swiftly transferred from the UK to their home country or to a safe third country such as Rwanda. In addition, re-entry is prohibited.

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An inflatable craft carrying illegal immigrants crosses a shipping lane in the English Channel off Dover, England, on August 4, 2022. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The main opposition Labor Party is against the plan. A Labor Party spokesman confirmed to reporters in Westminster on Wednesday that the party’s MPs will be instructed to vote against the bill.

During the prime minister’s questioning in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Sunak said the plan would be implemented as soon as the government passed parliament.

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer has criticized the government’s plan, accusing it of causing a “complete failure” and warning that “the problem will only get worse with each new gimmick”.

But Sunak said, “Stopping ships is not my priority, it’s the people’s priority.”

He accused former Attorney General Sturmer of being “just one of those left-handed lawyers getting in our way.”

“Stop the Boat”

A record 45,755 illegal immigrants arrived in the UK after crossing the English Channel in 2022, according to government figures.

More than 3,000 people have already made the trip this year. He had 197 passed on Monday, bringing his total to 3,150, according to the latest Interior Ministry figures.

He made “stopping boats” one of his five priorities and said he was “determined to deliver” on the promise.

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UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman arrives at Downing Street in central London, March 7, 2023. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Home Secretary Suera Braverman, who unveiled the new bill on Tuesday, said it would “betray” British voters not to tackle the illegal Channel Crossing.

She said the new bill allows the detention of illegal immigrants without bail or judicial review for the first 28 days of detention.

It would impose an obligation on the Secretary of the Interior to remove illegal immigrants and would “significantly reduce the number of challenges and appeals that can suspend removal.”

The bill would also introduce an annual parliament-determined cap on the number of refugees the UK offers protection through safe and legal routes, Braverman said.

Sunak told a Downing Street press conference that illegal immigrants would be eliminated “within weeks” and that the bill would apply “retroactively” if it were passed.

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Detainees inside the Manston Short-term Detention Center for Illegal Migrants wave to members of the media outside near Ramsgate, Kent, South East England, November 3, 2022. (Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images)

Numbers ‘drop dramatically’

Speaking to the BBC on Wednesday, Braverman said the new plan would result in a dramatic reduction in the number of illegal small boat crossings.

“Based on the experience of other countries, if people who came here illegally from the UK can be moved to another safe country like Rwanda or brought back home, they’ll know it,” she said. And that would actually dramatically reduce the number of people traveling in the first place.”

She added, “I think it will be very clear by the next election if we’ve succeeded.”

The interior secretary told Sky News that the government would begin expanding capacity “immediately” if needed.

She rejected criticism that the new bill may be inconsistent with the law, saying:

“In fact, we have made it very clear that we believe we are in compliance with all our international obligations, such as the Refugee Convention, the European Convention on Human Rights and other treaties to which we are subject.”


Labor has described the government’s new asylum policy as a “scam” that is as unlikely to succeed as previous efforts by the Conservative government.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper told the BBC on Wednesday that the Tories were “irresponsible” in immigration policy.

The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, said it was “deeply concerned” by the bill and said it would amount to “no asylum” if passed.

UNHCR’s representative in the UK, Vicky Tennant, told BBC Newsnight: And remember, even people with very compelling arguments don’t have a chance to put forward these. ”

However, Downing Street disputes the criticism from UNHCR.

An official spokesman for the prime minister said: “Obviously we do not agree. We recognize that these are new approaches, but we believe they meet our international obligations. We will challenge them in court. I am ready to defend the

PA Media contributed to this report.