LONDON: Interior Minister Suella Braverman has defended her government’s plan to deport nearly all illegal immigrants by calling her critics “naive do-gooders” and claiming that Britain has experienced “too much” immigration in recent years.
Asylum seekers arriving on the south coast of England in small vessels, often unseaworthy inflatable boats and dinghies, is a top priority for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
As of last year, a record 45,000 people entered Britain illegally, an increase of 500% over the previous two years; legislation introduced to parliament on Monday aims to reduce that number. They came primarily from Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iran, and Iraq.
Asylum seekers will be detained without bail and then sent back to their home country or, if that is deemed unsafe, to a third country deemed safe by the government.
Braverman, whose parents emigrated to Britain from Kenya and Mauritius in the 1960s, claimed she had experienced “grotesque slurs” and refused to be lectured on the “proper views” that someone of her background could hold.
“I will not be hectored by out-of-touch lefties,” she declared in the legislature. An immigrant’s child can legitimately state, “I am deeply grateful to live here, and immigration has been overwhelmingly good for the United Kingdom, but we’ve had too much of it in recent years.”
It is expected that the Illegal Migration Bill will be hotly contested in parliament and the courts, setting up a showdown over how to handle the arrival of small boats in the run-up to the next election, which is scheduled for the following year.
Hundreds of people gathered outside the House of Parliament on Monday as lawmakers debated the new law inside.
Asylum claims would be allowed under the new proposals only for those who “real risk serious and irreversible harm,” such as those who are too ill to fly.
As the bill was being debated, some lawmakers voiced their concern that it could lead to the deportation of families, pregnant women, and torture victims.
When asked if there was adequate provision to protect vulnerable children, Braverman said she was satisfied.
“Let’s be honest, 74% of entrants in 2021 were adult males under the age of 40,” she admitted.
Most of the women weren’t pregnant, and they weren’t teenagers. All of them went through France, which is a safe country where they could have first claimed asylum.