The British government’s plans to deport asylum seekers to safe EU countries more quickly have attracted criticism. There is not the slightest chance that the planned bilateral agreements to take back immigrants will come about, said former Interior Minister David Blunkett (Labor) according to the newspaper The Independent.
The incumbent Interior Minister Priti Patel (Conservative) had previously announced new measures, according to which migrants who entered illegally would be denied the automatic right to asylum. Instead, their deportation to safe countries through which they came to the UK should be checked.
This comes after the French government had been accused of escorting migrant boats up to the maritime boarder and waiting for British ships to effect the rescue.
Critics suspect party-political calculations behind deportation plans
The minister told the BBC that all of her proposals were in line with the Refugee Convention and international law and the European Convention on Human Rights. In the face of illegal immigration, inaction is not an option.
However, this project is not feasible, judged Blunkett and high-ranking officials. Bilateral agreements with the other EU states are “not feasible”. Blunkett, who was Interior Minister between 2001 and 2004, said: “It was really difficult to send people back when we were still part of the EU.” He accused Patel of submitting the plans for partisan political motives. “Pushing buttons for those who are concerned about immigration may be a successful partisan hit, but it will not be workable in practice.”
There are no incentives for EU states to take back migrants
The former head of immigration, Dave Wood, also joined the criticism. He also shared the assessment that separate regulations with the European Union on taking back migrants were “not realistic”.
The Independent quotes an anonymous former Home Office official who accused Patel of only trying to show harshness to the outside world. In his view, there is “little incentive for EU countries to sign a bilateral agreement, as the UK is the final destination for asylum seekers, and there are not really any sanctions that the UK can threaten if the member states do not want to agree to an agreement”.
Last year, 8,500 migrants came to the UK by boat across the English Channel. That was four times more than the year before.