The British Eldorado looks gray. On Tuesday, the Minister of the Interior of Her Majesty’s Government, Rishi Sunak, presented to Parliament a bill aimed at further tightening asylum conditions in his country. To simplify, if it were passed, the text would notably prevent any illegal immigrant from filing an application for asylum in Great Britain, whatever their situation. The bill also provides for swift deportation measures for such people, as well as a lifetime ban on setting foot in Britain again.
For French migrant aid associations, this threat will not have a significant effect on flows in the medium term, or even an opposite effect in the short term. “Clearly, this text is aimed at people arriving in ‘small boats’, because these operations are very visible and bad in terms of image, and the British government must show its public opinion that it is acting”, assures François Guennoc from the Auberge des Migrants. A fully assumed target in the English press by Rishi Sunak, by the way.
A law that is as illegal as it is dangerous
For Adèle, spokesperson for Utopia 56 in Calais, the same scenario will emerge as when the British government had the ambition to send illegal migrants back to Rwanda: “Here too, the objective was to deter. In fact, it had generated a lot of anxiety in the exile camps in Calais, but it hadn’t changed their life plan to settle there either. “L’Auberge des migrants is also skeptical: “Without the EU, Great Britain can no longer apply the Dublin regulations, and I would be surprised if Europe accepts that migrants from Europe be sent back to its territory. ‘England”, analyzes François Guennoc. According to him, therefore, it will therefore be necessary for the British to welcome these people.
Rather than an effective solution against illegal immigration, observers believe that this text is as illegal as it is dangerous. Instead of reducing the number of illegal crossings, Amnesty International UK assures 20 minutes that there will be “a huge increase in the number of people who are in the UK, pushed into the shadows for fear of the authorities and thus exposed to even more exploitation and abuse by criminal gangs” .
On the French side, the associations fear a “panic movement” before the adoption of the text: “We have already seen that, the smugglers put pressure to organize more crossings before new regulations are applied”, deplores François Guennoc . An influx is therefore possible with all the risks that entails.