The United Kingdom government will curb the illegal flow of migrants from surrounding countries using prison as a deterrent measure. It is one of the world countries that receive a huge inflow of migrants seeking political asylum or searching for greener pastures. It has been a perennial problem in the country as many people do not have proper documents. This becomes a challenge in identifying them after an accident, especially during the burial processor in the medical sector when one requires medical assistance. The police also are not able to track down these individuals after a major crime has been committed. Because most of them are not in the system, they tend to live like outcasts who can indulge in any activity to have a livelihood.
Priti Patel, the home secretary of the UK, noted that it would be considered a crime to enter the country using illegal ports of entry. Termed the English Channel, the British Channel is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from Northern France and creates a linkage to the North Sea. This has provided a safe passage for migrants into the UK. Such water-dominated areas are not usually manned by military personnel; hence people exploit them to enter certain countries. The British channel is a hive of smugglers who ferry people for a certain fee and drop them into the UK [Source]. Due to water discharge variant levels because of weather conditions, migrants’ smugglers tend to study the channel and steer their boats in the channel when the water flow seems steady, and the volume is low. This a dangerous trend that often ends in chaos as the boats capsize and people drown. But they keep on working on that channel due to the financial benefits, and the migrants risk it all to gain asylum in Great Britain.
Figures released from migrants’ departments show that the Channel is the main reason why the UK is flooded with migrants. The year 2020 recorded about 8 417 people who used the English Channel to enter the UK, and they were carried by small boats. So far, 2021 has recorded about 6000 migrants, with June experiencing more than 2000 people coming to the UK. The UK government tried to reduce the numbers by making it impossible for those who travel illegally without papers or through smuggling gangs to obtain asylum or permanent residency in the UK. People would find it challenging to settle down and be united with their families [Source].
According to the UK’s home secretary, a person should be aware that knowingly entering into a country without permission is a crime that will attract four months up to six years’ prison sentence. The suggested legislation also finds anyone who smuggles people to be committing a crime, and a sentence of l4 years maximum up to life imprisonment will be belted out for any smuggler. Smugglers are to be given a more severe punishment because they contribute a lot to the illegal migrants’ movement and give moral support in delivering them to their destiny. They are also the masterminds and ocean navigators who devise ways of crossing using the channel; hence, if they are removed from the equation, migrants will not attempt to cross the ocean on their own, fearing death by drowning or attack water creatures.
Ms. Patel explained further that this legislation is part of UK government officials to fix the damaged UK asylum system, which is being taken advantage of by such occurrences. Also, it will assist in the duties of the Nationality and Borders Bill, a department that is currently suffering because countless migrants are arriving in the UK. The government’s military and police forces have been strained in deploying personnel to cover all these porous points on their borders. Sometimes, the migrants have the firepower to fight against the police. The legislation will become the second measure in combating illegal migrants, thus lessening the burden on the police and military forces.
The House of Commons is expected to hear the reading of this proposed legislation on Tuesday to assess its validity and approve it into the law system. The legislation states that anyone intercepted in the UK’s waters, anyone who enters the country through illegal entry points, and the UK courts persecute any individual’s unlawful arrival.
This firm stance might seem too harsh, but it is fair to bring back order to the asylum sector, argued the home secretary. She went on to say that the government will still wholeheartedly receive migrants who come through legal channels and admit them into the asylum programs. Hence the proposed legislation does not put a cap on the asylum programs. It only condemns a crime that was slowly becoming a norm in the UK.
She also cited that those persons who use this channel seem to be coming from a safe territory in the European Union which means if they seek the nearest asylum, they will not risk traveling further to the UK. Still, they are actually “asylum shopping,” whereby they tend to cherry-pick the best territory they want to go to, and they choose the UK. This kind of behavior is selfish, especially for a person who claims to be running away from life-threatening situations back at home.
However, the legislation is being jabbed by other politicians and government officials who are against it. The Labour organization was frank about its opposition standpoint, and the shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds called it “unconscionable.” Amnesty International UK’s refugee and migrants’ rights director, Mr. Steve Valdez-Symonds, did not have kind words for this proposal. He condemned the Home Office for airing out “misleading myths and untruths” about the departments of asylum and migration, which taints their images. He believes that the Home Office should stop being lazy and make safe or legal migrants routes to the UK; otherwise, people will be forced by their situations to use the English Channel, thereby risking their life and committing a ‘crime’ [Source].
People have a right to seek asylum in a country of their choice, and it is inhumane to turn them away. In most cases, people run away from harmful activities in their countries, so they are not given a chance to get proper travel documentation. Hence this proposed law by the UK may seem fair given the various challenges they face due to illegal migrants, but on the larger scale, it might be a selfish move to turn away or jail innocent souls trying to save themselves from danger. The reading of this legislation in the House of Commons promises to spark an intense debate and discussion while touching the inner humanity of the parliamentarians.