London: stop refugee boats at any cost?

The British government has presented a plan for drastic changes to UK asylum laws aimed at deterring people from crossing the English Channel in small boats to enter the country. Under the planned legislation, migrants arriving via this route would be deported to their country of origin or a third country without judicial review. Because the law contradicts the international right to asylum, commentators are sceptical about whether the plan is at all realistic.

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The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

The only workable solution

The Daily Telegraph defends the plan:

“The only workable solution, then, is to do what the Government is attempting to do. Along with efforts to disrupt the criminal gangs and make our asylum system more effective, we must break the link between making the journey and getting to stay in Britain afterwards. In other words: migrants should be detained upon arrival and swiftly deported to their own country or to a safe third country like Rwanda - a country with which we have a migration partnership.”

The Guardian (GB) /

Merely performative

The government's plans won't solve anything, The Guardian comments:

“Those journeys are already illegal, and there is no evidence that the passengers will be deterred by the deprivation of fundamental rights. The real function of the bill is performative. With a general election likely next year, Rishi Sunak needs to be seen to be doing something about the crossings, which aggravate an old public anxiety about open borders. ... But a British government's contempt for human rights law is succour to the enemies of democracy.”

Polityka (PL) /

Controversial and counterproductive

The law doesn't fit in with the UK's image, Polityka believes:

“In short, the Sunak government wants to introduce a law that is not only at odds with the country's existing legislation and international conventions, but also with Britain's culture of openness to the world and its previous attitude to refugees. It seems that the current government simply doesn't like the fact that the British people have been so open and welcoming so far. But it doesn't need to introduce a new law - a tightening of the criteria in the asylum procedure would suffice. But for some unexplainable reason the Tories are taking a path that is riskier, more controversial and just plain stupid. And most likely to their own detriment.”

taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Inhumane and foolish

Sunak will hardly score points with voters with this manoeuvre, writes the taz's UK correspondent Ralf Sotscheck:

“Sunak has apparently concluded that it's good PR to go after the asylum seekers because he's not making any headway on more pressing issues like the rising cost of living, growing poverty or empty supermarket shelves - which are also a result of a lack of foreign workers. But the Asylum Act is not only inhumane, it is also foolish. Since 2015, various British governments have tried to stop the boats crossing the English Channel. The new law will not change that, because hopefully by the time it can come into effect this Tory government will be long gone.”