The home secretary has announced a new law aimed at preventing illegal migrants from entering the UK.
Suella Braverman said the Illegal Migration Bill would “stop the boats which are bringing tens of thousands to our shores”.
She also stated that the law would impose a cap on the number of people granted asylum in the UK, which would be determined by Parliament.
Labour’s Yvette Cooper said called the legislation a “con that risks making the chaos worse”.
According to the shadow home secretary: “We need serious action to put an end to dangerous boat crossings that endanger lives and undermine border security. Today’s statement, on the other hand, is Groundhog Day.”
Last year, over 45,000 people entered the UK via Channel crossings, up from around 300 in 2018.
The government believes that preventing small boats is a critical issue for voters.
The home secretary will have a “duty to remove” those who enter the UK illegally under the new law.
This will take legal precedence over someone’s right to claim asylum – although there will be exemptions for under-18s, those with serious medical conditions, and some “at real risk of serious and irreversible harm”.
Any additional asylum claims will be heard remotely following removal.
The bill authorises the detention of illegal immigrants without bail or judicial review for the first 28 days, until they can be removed.
It will also impose an annual cap – to be determined by Parliament – on the number of refugees that the UK will accept through safe and legal channels.
Ms Braverman stated that the new law would drastically reduce the number of challenges and appeals by removing the right of illegal entrants to use modern slavery laws to avoid removal.
The home secretary continued, saying the arrivals were “in flagrant breach of our laws and the will of the British people”.
“A government that does not respond to waves of illegal migrants crossing our borders is betraying the will of the people we were elected to serve.
“If you enter the UK illegally, you will be detained and quickly deported. Return to your home country if it is safe, or to a safe third country such as Rwanda.
“Exactly what this bill will do, that is how we will stop the boats.”
She also mentioned that the UK had provided refuge to people fleeing countries such as Afghanistan and Ukraine.
Prior to the announcement, the prime minister’s official spokesman stated that once the small boat crossings were discontinued, more safe and legal routes would be established.
When asked if it wouldn’t make more sense to expand the routes first, he said, “Certainly, we don’t think it’s right to introduce those routes when you don’t have clarity on the numbers coming into the country.”