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UK government plan to deport almost 1000 migrants in midst of European crisis

UK ministers have identified almost 1000 channel migrants for deportation.

The news comes in the midst of a surge in the number of migrants attempting to reach the UK via the English Channel.

Immigration minister Chris Philp announced Home Office plans to deport nearly 1000 migrants accused of arriving illegally into the UK. He said many had applied for asylum in EU countries and “under regulations should be returned there”. 

Many migrants are thought to be from war-torn countries such as Iraq, Yemen, and Syria and various moves to remove migrants from the UK have been made over the last couple of weeks. On August 28, a charter flight carrying 23 migrants to Spain was halted on human rights grounds.

Speaking on the issue Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed such migrants were arriving in the UK to be exploited by gangs and other criminal behaviour. He told MPs: “I have a great deal of sympathy with those who are so desperate as to put their children in dinghies… to cross the channel. But I have to say what they’re doing is falling prey to criminal gangs and they are breaking the law. They’re also undermining the legitimate claims of others who would seek asylum in this country”.

A new “fair borders bill” is currently being planned out by British Home Secretary Priti Patel. The bill would see migrants forced to declare all grounds for refugee status upon applying rather than providing such information at a later date. Additionally, Patel has sought out the advice of former Australian PM Tony Abbott who controversially introduced a ‘push back’ policy for illegal immigrants, a scheme stated as being illegal by the United Nations.

Europe is currently facing a migrant crisis. Hundreds of refugees attempting to flee conflict in their home countries have crossed borders to seek out a new life for themselves. Many have faced the perilous journey of crossing the Mediterranean and the English Channel. In early August, the body of a young Sudanese migrant was found dead on a French beach after he attempted to cross the latter in a small boat. It is only one of a number of refugees who have lost their lives in similar attempts.

In 2015, the world was shocked after the body of a three-year-old boy was found on a Turkish beach. Alan Kurdi drowned in the Mediterranean while attempting to reach the Greek island of Kos. He is thought to have been crossing in an inflatable boat designed to carry a maximum of eight passengers. Sixteen people were on board when the vessel capsized.

Despite Europe seeing large numbers of migrant deaths every year, many countries allegedly operate pushback systems to prevent a large influx of refugees.  Humanitarian organisations describe such policies as challenging and have criticised countries thought to be implementing such policies.

The United Nations has urged European states to allow the arrival of humanitarian boats rescuing hundreds of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean. United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and International Office for Migration (IOM) said: “the humanitarian imperative of saving lives should not be penalized or stigmatized, especially in the absence of dedicated state-led efforts”. 

22/09/2020

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William Warnes

William Warnes

Global Editor - 2019/20

Co-Deputy Editor - 2020/21