'This chorus of condemnation over migrants plan is misplaced'

'This chorus of condemnation over migrants plan is misplaced'

This chorus of condemnation over migrants plan is misplaced and predictable… It’s rarely the areas where hand wringers live that bear the brunt of the chaos, writes Dr RAKIB EHSAN

The Government’s bold plan to reform the asylum system has been met with a barrage of outrage from the usual suspects: Opposition parties, pressure groups and human rights lawyers.

‘Desperate and shameful,’ wails Labour’s Yvette Cooper. ‘Despicable,’ shrieks Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon. ‘Cruel and nasty,’ says the Refugee Council.

Steve Valdez-Symonds, a director at Amnesty International UK, warned that ‘sending people to another country – let alone one with such a dismal human rights record – for “processing” is the very height of irresponsibility’.

Yet this chorus of condemnation is as misplaced as it is predictable. What these self-righteous critics fail to recognise is that the current system is hopelessly broken.

What these self-righteous critics fail to recognise is that the current system is hopelessly broken. People board an inflatable dinghy to cross the English Channel  

Far from being compassionate, it promotes anarchy, criminality, injustice and dislocation. Action is urgently needed to restore integrity, and the scheme outlined by the Prime Minister yesterday is an imaginative, coherent attempt to achieve that.

There are two key elements at its heart. One is the proposal to transfer the enforcement of border controls in the English Channel to the Royal Navy. This should lead to greater vigour in cracking down on people traffickers.

The other is the creation of the international migration partnership with Rwanda in central Africa. Under this proposal, asylum seekers who use illegal routes to reach Britain will no longer be informally allowed to remain (while families will not be broken up and children will not be sent back alone), but instead will be flown to Rwanda where their claims will be processed.

If successful, they will be given long-term accommodation there. Its implementation, of course, presents challenges. 

The plan may prove unworkable, but Mr Johnson’s Government deserves credit for trying to resolve a colossal problem that is shattering the credibility of Britain’s entire approach to immigration.

Without a tough new policy, the numbers of illegal Channel crossings will continue to grow dramatically. A record number of 28,500 made the journey last year, and that total is likely to be dwarfed over the next 12 months.

The Prime Minister ordered warships to take over from the Border Force as the latest wave of arrivals from France were pictured landing in Kent

As the Prime Minister pointed out yesterday, the toleration of this illegal route for migrants is simply unsustainable. It is both a danger to life and an incentive to the smugglers who can charge £3000 per trip.

In effect, the present arrangement means that part of our immigration system is contracted out to criminal gangs, the very opposite of humanitarianism.

The current shambles is also profoundly unfair on legal migrants and to the British people, who not only have to pay for the whole failing racket, but find their communities in a state of permanent upheaval.

It is rarely Britain’s leafy suburbs and affluent neighbourhoods – usually home to the noisiest virtue signallers on immigration – that bear the brunt of the chaos.

Around 42 per cent of asylum seekers are dispersed to the north of England in deprived towns like Rochdale and Middlesbrough, while just 6.5 per cent are settled in southern England, excluding London. 

The indignation of the progressive hand wringers also ignores the reality that the asylum mess represents a grave threat to British security.

The catalogue of claimants who have perpetrated horrific crimes here grows ever longer, including figures like Khairi Saadallah, an asylum seeker from Libya who was allowed to remain in this country despite a string of convictions.

He paid back Britain’s misplaced generosity by killing three men in a barbaric knife attack at a Reading park in June 2020.

In fact, my own research demonstrates that since 1998, one quarter of all foreign nationals convicted of an Islamist terror offence in Britain either claimed or were granted asylum here.

On every level, the arguments of the liberals against this plan are specious.

They moan that the illegal Channel migrants are fleeing persecution, when in fact they are generally physically fit, single young men who are trying to reach Britain from France, Belgium and Holland – advanced, democratic, civilised societies.

If these migrants were really in fear, they would be grateful for any sanctuary. Equally wrong-headed are the liberal protests about the costs of the deal with Rwanda. At £120million for the initial trial, this could be a bargain compared to the £5million the Home Office spends every single day on hotel bills alone for asylum-seekers in Britain.

More importantly, the Rwandan scheme could lead to huge savings in the long-term by acting as a deterrent against trafficking.

The costs of policing, benefits, education, welfare support, accommodation and legal fees would plummet if the asylum system began to function properly. 

The Government’s furious opponents pride themselves on their enlightened tolerance. Yet ironically, they highlight their own condescending prejudices in their fulminations against partnership with an African country.

Yes, Rwanda has grievous problems, but it has made a remarkable recovery since the horrors of the civil war in the 1990s, joining the Commonwealth and rebuilding much of its infrastructure.

The agreement signed by Home Secretary Priti Patel could be the cue for further investment and progress. With this new link to Britain, the country will have a vested interest in making a success of the scheme.

What yesterday’s hysterical reaction showed was the social justice warriors’ contempt for democracy and the wishes of the British people, who have long been crying out for a shake-up in the asylum process.

And it also exposed the depths of their dishonesty. For behind all the synthetic anguish about Rwanda, these ideologues do not believe in any controls on immigration at all.

Opposing every type of restriction, even the deportation of foreign criminals, they would like open borders and the dilution of any meaningful concept of nationhood. British interests mean nothing to them as they cling to their globalist agenda.

But their vision is a terrifying one. It is precisely such reckless thinking that has forced the Government to take this week’s drastic measures.

  • Dr Rakib Ehsan is a research analyst specialising in social cohesion, institutional trust and public security

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