UK PM Announces New Measures To Curb ‘Illegal’ Immigration

On Tuesday, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a new five-point strategy to deal with illegal immigration. The news comes as the government continues to deal with a surge in migrants crossing the English Channel.

UK PM Announces New Measures To Curb ‘Illegal’ Immigration
Image credit: itv

Facts

  • On Tuesday, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a new five-point strategy to deal with illegal immigration. The news comes as the government continues to deal with a surge in migrants crossing the English Channel.
  • The five-point plan entails: the introduction of a new permanent unified small boat operational command, focusing immigration officers solely on enforcement, the cessation of the use of hotels to house asylum seekers as much as possible by the government, a doubling of the number of asylum caseworkers, and the rejection of a "majority of claims" from Albania until all Albanians are cleared from the government's immigration backlog.
  • Sunak told MPs in the House of Commons: "unless we act now and decisively, this will only get worse". However, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer, dismissed the plans as "unworkable gimmicks," while the United Nations Refugee Agency described the announcement as a "troubling step".
  • Under the plans, a dedicated unit of 400 specialists will be established to handle claims from Albanian migrants. The current asylum backlog sits at approximately 117K outstanding claims relating to over 143K people. Of these, nearly 100K people have been waiting for more than 6 months.
  • Approximately 45K people have made the journey from France to Kent via the English Channel on small boats this year. A day after Sunak's announcement, the government confirmed that 4 people had died and 43 had been rescued as a migrant boat attempted to cross the channel overnight.

Sources: Reuters, Sky News, ITV, and BBC News.

Narratives

  • Right narrative, as provided by The Spectator. Sunak's five-point plan is potentially game-changing, as it will finally commit the Conservative party to effective action in fighting immigration. Knowing that this is a policy area with the most potential for gaining Tory voters, Sunak has pushed for an immigration crackdown with an eye to the election in 2024. If Sunak sticks to this blueprint, the Conservatives can maintain their majority.
  • Left narrative, as provided by The Guardian. Sunak's policies are an inhumane response which, if implemented, would effectively reject the UN refugee convention — of which the UK was a founding signatory. Under Tory government, the UK is shifting towards aggressive unilateralism.

Predictions