WE WILL PUSH HUMAN RIGHTS LAW TO LIMIT
Ministers say they WON’T break but WILL stretch boundaries of international law in new crackdown on Channel migrants
THE biggest crackdown on illegal migration for decades is to be unveiled today.
Tough measures to tackle small boat arrivals will be rushed through Parliament – and could be in place by summer.
Sources close to Home Secretary Suella Braverman said Britons ‘have had enough’ and vowed that ministers would tackle the Channel crisis ‘no ifs, no buts’.
It is understood that a rarely-used measure under the Human Rights Act – known as a Section 19.1.B statement – will be deployed to get the legislation through Parliament.
Ministers are understood to have received advice that the proposals are lawful despite pushing the boundaries of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Small boat migrants will be barred from lodging asylum claims and stripped of the ability to launch human rights appeals.
Nearly all those who arrive by illegal routes will be able to appeal only once they have been deported. Only children and the gravely ill will be allowed to remain in Britain while they bring legal challenges, Mrs Braverman is
expected to say. A ‘duty to remove’ any migrants who arrive illegally will be placed on the Home Secretary.
It is understood that asylum and human rights claims will be ‘radically curtailed’ under the package.
The sources close to Mrs Braverman said: ‘ The British people have had enough. This Government is determined to stop the boats and ensure we have all the powers available to remove illegal migrants from the country. The Prime Minister and Home Secretary are resolved to this course of action, no ifs, no buts.’
Another insider said: ‘This new duty to remove will ensure that the Home Secretary’s power to remove migrants takes precedence in law and ensures asylum, human rights and modern slavery claims are blocked.’
In a separate development, ministers have not given up on sending the first plane-load of migrants to Rwanda this year. They have been encouraged by December’s court ruling that the deal with the African country is lawful.
Although the policy is still facing legal challenges ministers believe it could even be possible for an asylum flight to take off by the summer.
The full package of immigration measures is due to be unveiled by Rishi Sunak and Mrs Braverman later today.
The Prime Minister has pledged to ‘stop the boats’ as one of his five key pledges to voters after Channel arrivals surged to almost 46,000 last year.
Immigration laws brought into force under Boris Johnson set out how the Home Secretary can declare a migrant’s claim inadmissible if they passed through a safe third country such as France. Today’s strengthened package will see this applied almost across the board to all migrants.
The move will expand powers introduced by Labour in 2003 – ‘non-suspensive appeals’ – that allow asylum seekers to be removed after their initial claim is rejected. However use of the powers has slumped. There were 1,285 asylum cases earmarked for the process in 2018, but in the first six months of last year only 171 were deemed eligible.
The Illegal Migration Bill will also see Channel migrants banned for life from coming back to Britain.
Ministers have insisted that they can ignore last- minute interventions by Strasbourg judges.
A new Bill of Rights, published last June but currently on hold, states unequivocally that ‘no account is to be taken of any interim measure issued by the European Court of Human Rights’. But it is not yet known whether today’s legislation will include the measures.
Ministers are braced for opposition from the Whitehall establishment – dubbed the ‘Blob’ – over their plan to tackle the Channel crisis. Critics include former Home Office mandarin Sir David Normington who said it was ‘ highly doubtful’ the proposals would lead to a fall in crossings.
Refugee charities and a trade union that represents immigration officers were also among those who questioned early details of the scheme.
Sir David told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘At the heart of the policy is a gamble that if you say it’s illegal to come in a small boat people will stop coming. I think that is highly doubtful.’
He predicted the Government’s plan would face ‘very great’ problems.
Lucy Moreton of the Immigration Services Union also cast doubt on the plans, describing them as ‘quite confusing’.
Enver Solomon of the Refugee Council described the legislation as flawed, adding: ‘It’s unworkable, costly and won’t stop the boats.’
Steve Valdez- Symonds of Amnesty International UK condemned the proposed measures as ‘disgraceful posturing and scaremongering’.
Asked whether the plan was legally feasible, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer replied: ‘I don’t know that it is and I think we’ve got to be very careful with international law here.’
But the Prime Minister’s spokesman said: ‘We’ve seen too many lives lost attempting this dangerous and unnecessary journey, and the number of people entering the country is simply unsustainable. As we’ve always said, we recognise there will likely be challenges in many forms to this sort of legislation.’
A No 10 spokesman said the Government would stop all small boats but declined to put a timescale on the plans.
‘The British people have had enough’
EVERY prime minister since 2010 has promised to find a solution to the seemingly intractable issue of illegal migration.
So far it has eluded them. But is that about to change? Rishi Sunak has pledged to crack down on the small boats bringing migrants across the Channel – no ifs, no buts.
In truth, he has little choice – regaining control of Britain’s borders is crucial to Tory prospects at the next election.
Most voters are horrified that thousands are landing unlawfully on our beaches and strolling with impunity into new lives here.
The best way to stop this appalling scandal is to convince migrants that coming to the UK without permission is futile.
Mr Sunak’s flagship Bill hinges on barring Channel migrants from claiming asylum here, then detaining and deporting them swiftly. That would be a powerful deterrent.
However, his plans face major obstacles. Even before it was published, the legislation had run into fierce opposition from the Left – Labour, the Whitehall ‘blob’, shroudwaving charities and human rights lawyers.
They will use every trick in the book to resist attempts to remove those who have no right to be here, thwarting a government trying to enact the British people’s wishes.
To the liberal orthodoxy, every Channelhopper is fleeing war and death. The reality is, the majority are economic migrants.
Predictably, Labour carps that the crackdown is ‘unworkable’. But what are its answers? Tougher enforcement against traffickers (who operate outside the UK) and accelerating the asylum process (which human rights laws make devilishly tricky).
The truth is, Sir Keir Starmer has no interest in controlling migration because he is ideologically wedded to free movement. One thing that would solve the small boats racket at a stroke is if France took back every illegal migrant.
Now Mr Sunak’s new Brexit deal has thawed relations with Europe, he should suggest the idea when he meets Emmanuel Macron on Friday. Destroying the incentive to sail would end the migrant flood.