Britain is ‘confident’ new laws to stop Channel crossings are within the law

Suella Braverman said she was “confident” that new laws to deter undocumented migrants crossing the Channel into Britain were compatible with international law, but acknowledged they could breach UK human rights law.

When the interior minister presented the illegal migration law to parliament on Tuesday, he defended the government’s strategy to stop small boat crossings, which Prime Minister Rishi Sunak described in January as one of his five “people’s priorities”.

But alluding to the controversy over the policy, Braverman said the government had “opened talks” with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to prevent legal challenges from “abusing” the legislation and rules to thwart deportations.

“Our approach is robust and novel, which is why we are unable to make a definitive declaration of compliance under Section 19 1b of the Human Rights Act,” Braverman said, adding that she was nonetheless “confident that this proposed legislation is consistent with the UK’s international obligations.” .

In 2022, a record 45,000 people crossed the Channel to Britain on small boats, and with the Government spending more than £6million a day accommodating asylum seekers in hotels, Sunak has been pressured by Conservative backbenchers to find solutions.

But immigration advocates and nongovernmental organizations have warned that the ministers’ approach amounts to a de facto retreat from the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, which was introduced after many countries turned away Jewish refugees.

The new legislation bans people who have entered the UK illegally from ever applying for asylum and permanently bans them from officially returning. It also makes it a “legal duty” for the Home Secretary to deport such persons either to their home country or to a “safe” third country.

Another provision strengthens detention powers so that people detained in these circumstances can apply to the courts for bail only after 28 days.

Appeals under the modern slavery provisions will be barred under the new law for those entering the UK illegally, under which only minors and those unfit to fly will have claims examined in the country.

Braverman said the government will provide safer and more legal ways for asylum seekers to reach the UK once the small boat crisis is addressed.

The government’s plans have been criticized as “unworkable”, partly because the UK does not yet have viable agreements to return refugees to “safe” third countries.

Plans to deport some asylum seekers to Rwanda – with which ministers signed a £120m deal in 2022 – have been stalled by legal challenges, including at the ECtHR, which prevented the first flight to Kigali carrying detainees from taking off last year .

In theory, this means that tens of thousands of newcomers could be detained because of politics.

In response to Braverman, Yvette Cooper, shadow Home Secretary, said the law “is not a solution. It’s a scam that could make the mess even worse.”

Some Tory MPs have said Britain should withdraw from the ECHR if its Strasbourg court blocks the government from deporting refugees.

Hinting that such a move may be necessary, Braverman on Tuesday described the process that led to the Kigali flight being blocked as “deeply flawed.”

“Our ability to control our borders cannot be constrained by an opaque process conducted late at night with no chance to make our arguments or challenge decisions,” she said. Britain is ‘confident’ new laws to stop Channel crossings are within the law

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