A shocking announcement from the U.K. government this week has seen the government come under fire, yet again, for its inhumane approach to immigration policy that will only increase human trafficking, causing vulnerable people to needlessly suffer.
Sending vulnerable people thousands of miles away
Under new plans announced on Thursday, the U.K. proposes to send people attempting to cross through irregular migration routes into the U.K. to seek asylum more than 4,000 miles away to Rwanda.
The U.K. government is sending a clear message that inhumane immigration policies will always be prioritised over preventing trafficking, no matter the human cost. Under these plans people won’t be deterred from seeking safety in the U.K. or encouraged to use legal migration routes as the Prime Minister claims – because for the vast majority, these don’t exist.
Instead, they’ll be pushing people into more risky situations where accepting offers from traffickers who may exploit them seems to be their only option.
Describing it as “unworkable, unethical and extortionate”, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper warned that it would cost the UK taxpayer billions of pounds during a cost of living crisis and would make it “harder, not easier” to get fast and fair asylum decisions.
She slammed the announcement as a “desperate and shameful” attempt by Mr Johnson to “distract from his own law-breaking” and from the “collapse” of the Home Office’s decision-making on asylum claims, which sees thousands waiting for more than a year for a decision.
Lack of support for inhumane proposal
Freedom United joins 150+ other organizations in calling on the Prime Minister and Home Secretary to scrap their unthinkable plans in a letter published today.
Zoe Gardner from the Joint Council on the Welfare of Immigrants warned that the Prime Minister is completely out of step with public opinion, referencing the outpouring of public support for Ukrainian and Afghan refugees.
Support for this new plan within the government is also lacking. The government minister for refugees, Richard Harrington, suggested that a policy to ‘offshore’ people seeking asylum “is likely to fail” and other senior Conservatives have warned of the U.K. developing a “British Guantanamo Bay”.
Alarmingly, a similar deal struck between Israel and Rwanda resulted in most people leaving Rwanda and making perilous journeys to Europe where some were trafficked.
A pattern of harmful immigration policies
The government’s abhorrent new announcement this week is just the latest in an ongoing strategy to sideline human rights in the pursuit of ‘controlling’ borders. Under the harmful Nationality and Borders Bill, survivors of modern slavery, including both British and non-UK survivors and child victims, would be denied life-saving support through a cluster of new exemptions and restrictions.
We must oppose the government’s harmful immigration policies and measures set out in the Nationality and Borders Bill that will rip up support for trafficking survivors and undermine trafficking victims’ rights. Write to your MP today.