Early this week, some 717 migrants on board 26 boats arrived on British shores via the English Channel. Totaling to 8,474 that have arrived this year, the British Parliament has approved a new immigration plan, the Nationality and Borders Bill, which could subject people arriving irregularly by boat to be locked up in prison for up to four years.
In May 2020, record numbers of migrants crossed the Channel, including a 17-day old baby, who was rescued.
LONDON — The Nationality and Borders bill was written by British home secretary Priti Patel this month as the government’s latest effort to “fix the broken asylum system,” as the Home Office describes it.
Even in 2020, Ms Patel told the Independent that the UK government is committed to “shutting down” routes used by migrants crossing the Channel to the south coast and disassembling the criminal gangs “making fortunes” in enabling the illegal crossings to take place.
Opposition politicians and rights groups, however, have denounced the plan as “inhumane, divisive, and flawed.” Some sectors call the act “plain wrong and against British values.”
The chief executive of the Refugee Council, Enver Solomon, says that the measure would not diminish their arrivals anyway.
“Putting people in jail who have come here because of the terrible things that have happened to them in their lives is really draconian and punitive,” Mr Solomon says on the BBC Radio 4 show “Today,” “and all that it will do is fill up our jails without resolving the issues.”
The amount of migrants arriving in the country through the English Channel has caused clamor from right-wing groups in Britain especially since immigration was also one of the primary reasons for their decision to leave the European Union.
This number, however, is small compared to countries which are closer to conflict zones, such as Lebanon and Turkey. More than 41,000 people fleeing violence or poverty have crossed from North Africa and the Middle East into Europe this year alone. (HMP/The MiNT)
Featured image: Coming in small boats. Migrants crossing the English Channel raise the alarm on the British Home Office. As migration continues, the future is not that good for them when they reach the British shores. /Credit: Steve Finn/The Times