Britain proposes new immigration law to stop small boats
March 8, 2023 - Britain’s Conservative government has set out a new law barring the entry of asylum seekers to the UK in small boats, but critics say it could criminalize the efforts of thousands of genuine refugees.
The measure is part of attempts to address an increase in the number of people arriving in the UK via Channel crossings each year, which rose from around 300 in 2018 to more than 45,000 in 2022.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the law would stop the “immoral” business of smuggling gangs who send desperate people on hazardous journeys across one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
But critics say the plan is unethical and unworkable, since people fleeing war and persecution can’t be sent home, and is likely to be the latest in a series of unfulfilled immigration pledges by successive UK governments.
Britain receives fewer asylum-seekers than some European nations – nine per 100,000 people in 2021, compared to a European Union average of 16 per 100,000. But thousands of migrants from around the world travel to northern France each year in hopes of reaching the UK.
- Factbox: Britain proposes new immigration law to stop small boats (Reuters)
- UK Plans Law to Prevent Asylum Claims by Small Boat Arrivals (Bloomberg)
- Irregular migration to the UK, year ending September 2022 (UK Government)
- Gary Lineker to be ‘spoken to’ after comparing UK asylum policy to 1930s Germany (BBC)
- UK aims to deport Channel migrants, but critics skeptical (AP)