The British government has announced a new plan to fight illegal immigration by giving some migrants seeking asylum in the United Kingdom a one-way ticket to Rwanda to have their applications processed in the East African country.
The plan to outsource the processing of asylum applications overseas — if it survives legal challenges that are certain to come from human rights groups and the European Court of Human Rights — could become a model for other European countries seeking to crack down on illegal immigration.
The legal basis for the plan is enshrined in a new Nationality and Borders Act 2022 approved by Parliament on April 28. The new law, which integrates changes to British immigration law, includes offshoring asylum — processing claims at overseas facilities — and making it a criminal offense to knowingly arrive in the UK illegally.
"Access to the UK's asylum system should be based on need, not on the ability to pay people smugglers.... If you illegally enter the UK via a safe country in which you could have claimed asylum, you are not seeking refuge from imminent peril — as is the intended purpose of the asylum system — but are picking the UK as a preferred destination over others." — New Plan for Immigration, UK Home Office.
"We cannot sustain a parallel illegal system.... We can't ask the British taxpayer to write a blank cheque to cover the costs of anyone who might want to come and live here.... Nor is it fair on those who are seeking to come here legally, if others can just bypass the system.
It's a striking fact that around seven out of ten of those arriving in small boats last year were men under 40, paying people smugglers to queue jump and taking up our capacity to help genuine women and child refugees." — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, April 14, 2022.
"We can no longer accept the status quo. People are dying and the global migration crisis requires new ways to find new partnerships and to find new solutions." — British Home Secretary Priti Patel, April 14, 2022.
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Pictured: Illegal migrants arrive at Dover port after being picked up in the English Channel by the UK Border Force on April 14, 2022. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)