The British government on Tuesday introduced a new draft law on immigration, considering it a crime to enter asylum seekers in this country without permission. Under the provisions of the new bill, anyone caught entering the UK illegally, for whatever reason, could be sentenced to up to four years in prison.
The move is aimed at discouraging the arrival of immigrants through the English Channel by small boats and dinghies. Traffickers will face heavier penalties, increasing the sentence from 14 years in prison to life in prison.
British Home Secretary Priti Patel said the law was intended to rectify “Britain’s problematic system of asylum applications”.
Currently, refugees coming from France in small boats are apprehended by the Coast Guard and held in detention centers or hotels until their asylum application is considered. “Our new immigration plan is fair, but decisive. “We welcome people through legal and safe channels and by preventing system abuse by cracking down on criminal activity that enables illegal entry into the country,” Ms. Patel said last week.
Under the proposed regulations, immigrants who are not prosecuted but have entered the country illegally will only receive temporary residence status and will not benefit from state aid, unless they are completely without income. Only asylum seekers coming through government refugee programs will be able to settle in Britain.
Officials say the bill sends “a clear message to immigrants who are considering paying traffickers to undertake the difficult and illegal journey to Britain”.
But the proposal, which comes before lawmakers in the House of Commons on Tuesday, has been met with harsh criticism from human rights activists and organizations working with refugees. “Instead of inflating theories and myths fabricated about asylum seekers and immigrants, the Home Office should work to provide safe routes for those fleeing to escape persecution in their home countries,” said Steve Valdez. -Symods, director of the immigration program at Amnesty International.
Nearly 6,000 refugees arrived on the shores of Britain in the first six months of this year via the dangerous English Channel. In 2020 the total number was 8,417./VOA