Sadiq Khan has denounced the proposed Illegal Migration Bill.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has criticized the proposed Illegal Migration Bill, labeling it “cruel” and “unworkable.” In a letter to Home Secretary Suella Braverman, Khan expressed concerns that over 50,000 people in London could face homelessness if the bill becomes law. The bill aims to prevent unauthorized boat crossings across the English Channel and proposes detaining and promptly removing individuals to their home country or a safe third country.
While Prime Minister Rishi Sunak argues that the bill is necessary to combat human trafficking, Khan warned that it could empower traffickers, jeopardize child protections, and leave people in immigration limbo without an opportunity to seek sanctuary. Khan emphasized that the current asylum system is already broken, and this bill would further compound the challenges faced by vulnerable individuals.
The number of Indians arriving in the UK on small boats has increased significantly, with 683 arrivals in 2022 compared to 67 in 2021. The Home Office data reveals that most irregular arrivals from India were men between the ages of 25 and 40, alongside individuals from other countries such as Albania, Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq.
According to the Refugee Council, the implementation of the Illegal Migration Bill could result in over 190,000 people being detained or forced into destitution. Additionally, around 45,000 children could be locked up in the UK after having their asylum claims deemed inadmissible. The cost of detaining refugees and accommodating those who cannot be removed to other countries is estimated to reach £9 billion over three years.
The bill proposes detaining individuals who arrive illegally for 28 days before deportation, with a few exceptions for children, medically unfit individuals, and those at risk. Once deported, individuals will be banned from returning to the UK or applying for British citizenship in the future.
The Refugee Council argues that there is little evidence to suggest that this plan will effectively deter people from crossing the Channel in small boats. The Labour Party has raised concerns about the bill’s legality and feasibility, while the Liberal Democrats criticized it as a “half-baked plan” developed by the Conservatives.