FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
LONDON – It is the concrete and visible symbol of illegal immigration law just passed in London: L’huge barge almost a hundred meters long it arrived yesterday morning in the port of Portland, in Dorset, and from the end of the month it will begin to host the first asylum seekers, waiting for their applications to be examined. It is the hardline signal of Rishi Sunak’s government, he means deported to Rwanda who arrives illegally in the UK.
The arrival of Bibby Stockholm was greeted by protests: many local residents they do not want to become a sorting center for refugeesbut at the same time human rights defenders denounce the treatment imposed on migrants.
The barge, the size of a football field and three stories high, it will be able to accommodate up to 500 people, all adult males: they will not be detained, because they will be free to come and go. Currently, asylum seekers are housed in hotels, with a costing taxpayers £6m a day (about 7 million euros).
In addition to the Bibby Stockholm, the London government intends to use four military sites: and the first three are able to accommodate almost five thousand people.
The barge is above all a deterrent which is used to send a message: the Irregular immigrants will not be treated with kid gloves. Sunak has pledged to stop the illegal landings across the Channel: they arrived last year 45,000 illegal immigrants and since the beginning of this year the figure is 13,000. Under the newly passed law, those who arrive illegally may be deported to Rwandaalthough this provision has currently been blocked by an Appeal Court (the government will appeal to the Supreme Court).
The passage of the law in Parliament was greeted with very harsh words by the United Nations, which called it “a violation of international law”. In a joint statement, the UN human rights officer, Volker Turk, and that for refugees, Filippo Grandi, complained that the new law “will have profound consequences for people in need of international protection”. “This new legislation significantly erodes the legal framework that has protected so many people and exposes refugees to grave risk,” they said.
The wave of disembarkation across the Channel, which has grown exponentially over the past three years, makes a mockery of Brexit’s proclaimed goal of “regaining control of the borders”: and that is why “stopping the punts” has become one of the priorities of the Sunak government, according to which only an inflexible line will be able to put the people trafficking business out of business. Actually, Great Britain is not prejudicially hostile to immigration: on the contraryafter Brexit, legal admissions have multiplied, reaching one million and 200 thousand people last year.
Public opinion is completely relaxed with respect to regular immigration: what is problematic are illegal arrivals, also because the landings take place from Francenot from countries like Tunisia or Libya, e a good portion of the illegal immigrants who arrived last year were young Albanianstherefore not people in need of asylum and protection.
Sunak plays his face on illegal immigration: but it is interesting to note that even Labor has avoided saying that they would do without the barge in the middle of the sea and have not even promised to overturn the rule on deportation to Rwanda. When the Labor will probably be in power next year, it will hardly ease the squeeze on immigration illegal, aware that it must recover consensus among those popular classes particularly hostile to illegal immigrants.
July 19, 2023 (change July 19, 2023 | 20:02)
© REPRODUCTION RESERVED