British candidates vow to get tough on irregular immigration

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MILAN, Italy (Fulhapress) – The two candidates to succeed Boris Johnson in the UK belong to the same Conservative Party and have so far focused their campaign on economic issues. In this area, after all, Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss differ sharply, in discussions about whether or not tax cuts should be boosted in response to the cost of living crisis.

But if the way he divides the economy between them, the former finance minister and the current foreign minister find themselves perfectly aligned with at least one other subject: the tougher policy against irregular immigration, which has been largely rehearsed already in the resignation administration. Boris.

The two candidates for the leadership of the party, and thus for the position of prime minister, have been in a kind of competition on the subject in the past week. Among the promises to stop disembarking illegal immigrants on the sea coast, the parties eventually committed to continue sending deportees to Rwanda, a country in Central Africa.

The British government announced this measure last April, and paid for it even after criticism was immediately leveled by human rights bodies. However, the project’s first flight was prevented from taking off in June, at the last minute, after a legal battle involving court orders for a number of immigrants.

The topic has gained importance again in the UK because between 2019 and 2021 the number of irregular migrants arriving in small boats increased more than 15 times, from 1843 to 28,500 in 12 months. According to the statistics of the Ministry of the Interior, this year, between January and March, 4,540 people arrived in the country, which is three times higher than the same quarter of the previous year.

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Since the peak is usually recorded in the northern hemisphere summer, the annual total can be exceeded. Between 11 and 17 July alone, for example, about 1,400 immigrants crossed the English Channel, crossed France and came mainly from Iran and Iraq.

“People are tired of seeing the small boats arriving in this country and the authorities seem powerless to stop them,” Sunak said, announcing a ten-point program to address the situation, promising to implement the so-called partnership with Rwanda. “There is nothing racist in wanting to have secure boundaries that work.” The candidate is the grandson of Indian immigrants.

Truss revealed its key measurements on the same day. Among them are the expansion of the policy of deportation to other countries, the increase of security forces guarding the borders by 20%, and the intention of “no contraction” in the face of European Court of Human Rights proceedings.

“Politics [de deportação] For Rwanda is correct. “I am determined to promote its full implementation as well as to look to other countries for similar partnerships,” he said. In the past, Ghana and Albania have rejected similar British proposals.

Boris’ program is surrounded by clear controversy. The British government has already paid £120m to the African country to take in migrants seeking asylum – although none have yet been sent. A new court decision on the legality of this measure is expected in early September, the same period when the name of the next prime minister is expected to be announced.

There are also doubts about the ability to receive deportees from the UK, after the Kigali authorities admitted there were only 200 places.

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“There are a lot of differences between Sunak and Truss, but betting on this controversial policy, they show that they are more determined. [do que Boris] “In making it work,” says Peter Walsh, a researcher at Oxford University’s Migration Observatory, “they both try to sound tough on immigration.”

The row between who has the toughest promises in the region seeks to persuade Conservative Party members – who will decide in an internal vote who will be the next (or next) prime minister – about who is most loyal to one of the main goals of Brexit, “taking back control of the the border”.

Advertisements for both campaigns have been criticized by organizations working with migrants in the UK. Amnesty International accused the candidates of making election promises while setting aside real problems, such as the collapse of the asylum system.

Currently, about 110,000 foreigners inside the country are waiting for a response to their application for protection, which has taken on average more than a year. “It’s a slow process, and none of the policies the candidates mentioned include measures to make them more flexible,” Walsh says.

For the researcher, in addition to the controversy surrounding the deportation programme, there is no strong evidence to conclude that Rwanda’s policy has the effect of deterring migrants from attempting to enter the country irregularly. “The possibility of being arrested and going to Rwanda can be seen as an additional risk, in addition to all the other dangers, that these people accept when they are on a boat.”

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About the Author: Lizzie Gray

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