I don’t talk about immigration law much on this blog. At all, actually. Firstly, it’s my day job, and jobs suck, right? I don’t want that shit leaking into my leisure time. It’s a freaking Saturday right now, and you vultures want me to talk about immigration law?? Can’t a playa like myself get days off occasionally?? And anyway, it’s pretty much never relevant: it’s rather difficult to respond to the latest Unknown Mortal Orchestra album while referencing the five stages approach set out in Razgar ( UKHL 27).
However, I feel moved to say a few words on the ‘Illegal Immigration Bill’, that was successfully voted through by 313 MPs on the 13th of March (three hundred and thirteen incredibly stupid MPs, as I will prove in this post) and will go to the committee stage on Monday (27th). The bill will refuse to offer asylum to anyone fleeing war, violence, conflict or persecution who enters the UK illegally. Entering the country illegally is pretty much the only way 99% of people can claim asylum. There is no ‘queue’ to join. You can’t apply for an ‘Refugee Visa’ (cough, unless you’re a white European, cough). The UK occasionally launches launches non-white programs to clean up its own mess like the Afghan relocation scheme, but then never really gives any thought to them past the glitzy press launch. Under the stated aim of reducing lethally dangerous migration attempts that people make to circumvent the already harsh border policy, the government is making clear that nobody will ever be able to claim asylum or get any permission to stay in the country. Ever. “Those who arrive in the UK illegally will not be able to stay here and will instead be detained and then promptly removed, either to their home country or a safe third country“. The Home Secretory Suella Braverman’s “dream, my obsession” is for them all to be removed to Rwanda as part of a £140m deal. Thought the government says that the bill “will free up capacity so that the UK can better support those in genuine need of asylum through safe and legal routes“, it’s essentially the UK officially stating it will no longer offer people asylum.
Your first reaction might be “Hey, that’s pretty fucking shitty! And that Rwanda deal is some gross colonial bullshit!”. And that’s OK, it’s a free country (if you’re a white European) and I applaud your engagement. However, that is obviously an emotional reaction based on philosophically debatable matters such as ‘morality’, ‘decency’ and ‘human fucking rights, you bunch of fucking ghouls‘. That’s all well and good, but I don’t wish to debate this from ethical standpoint. Up yours, woke moralists. I’m just going to examine the bill, examine the implications, examine the logistics and examine the thinking from a purely unbiased and ideologically untarnished viewpoint. I would just like the calmly and inarguably point out how this is one of the dumbest fucking things ever, and evidence of such chronic smooth brain thinking that I am genuinely worried about the mental health of its adherents. Legally speaking, this bill is as thick as pig shit.
The bill is absolutely that potent mix of cruelty and stupidity. I’m just going to concentrate on the stupidity, that’s all. As I really don’t think enough people are aware of how stupid it is.
Let’s start by quickly getting over the question as to whether the obviously troll titled ‘Illegal Migration Bill’ is, well, illegal. And the answer is, on one hand, obviously yes, it’s illegal by international law. It makes it impossible for the UK to meet several legal requirements of the 1951 Refugee Convention, which still governs how all countries should treat refugees and asylum seekers, particularly the duty to determine refugee status. And even in the bills opening paragraphs, The Right Honourable Ms Braverman offers a big shrug emoji when deciding whether the bill is compatible with international law:
The thing about international law though, is that when it comes to countries and human rights it’s very much more of a suggestion rather than actual law. The Refugee Convention is more like the ‘law’ that you should wash your hands after going to the toilet – we all agree that you should, but nobody’s going to jail for it (and we all know which countries are just turning on the water to make it sound like they’re doing it). Another country could take the UK to the International Court of Justice, but that’s literally never happened before over the Refugee Convention. Look at Australia, they practically use the bodies of refugees as kangaroo punching bags, and nobody has ever said “boo” to those silly geese. Those silly, proudly racist, fascist geese.
And it’s being written into law. By the government. Who make the laws. So, yeah, at the end of the day it’s obviously legal. 1-0 Braverman, I guess! Well played.
OK, let’s take a look at this insanity – the beating heart of the bill is introduced at Clause 2:
- Entering the UK without permission, which catches all those pesky boat people (the ones who survived the journey anyway), but also by deception, so if you arrive in the UK on a ‘legitimate’ Visa then claim asylum, the Home Office might argue that you lied on your original application and always planned to claim asylum.
- Entering after the 7th March 2023, so the consequences of this bill are very much in play.
- Passed through a country where they could have claimed asylum, but didn’t. Simply due to geography pretty much every asylum seeker to reach the UK will have to pass through another country to get here. The UK rarely gets Norwegians claiming asylum after braving the North Sea.
- Requiring permission to stay in the UK but not having it. Kind of covered that in the first condition, but alright queen, go off
The third condition is a spicy one, isn’t it?? Again, I’m only discussing this from a purely rational standpoint – there’s a reason that the kids call me ‘Immigration Law Spock’* – so I’m not going to talk about the many reasons asylum seekers choose to go to the UK rather than claim asylum in other ‘safe’ countries that they are forced to pass through (the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants recently did a great study) just to accept the facts that they do. Hmmm, all these European countries that asylum seekers pass through on the way to the UK, why isn’t there a Europe wide database to track their movement?
(*I’ve got really big ears and a bit of a pointy monobrow. Also, I fucking hate William Shatner)
Ooooooooooooh sheeeeeeeeeeeeeee… There is! Eurodac is the adorably Orwellian surveillance system where an asylum seeker’s biometrics are uploaded onto a wider database so that each country can check which EU country they first claimed asylum in. The Dublin Regulation (604/2013) determined that the responsibility of processing asylum seekers will go to the first country in the EU that they entered into (after family, personal considerations, and other woke bullshit are taken into account). This is obviously unfair on countries like Italy and Greece, who are geographically far closer to the countries where people are fleeing from, but fuck them, right?! Just run those asylum seekers through Eurodac, and send them back to whichever other EU country they first entered into, and…
The UK no longer has access to Eurodec and it no longer has the right to send asylum seekers to other European countries. there was kind of a thing that the UK did in 2016. After leaving the EU, the UK is going to be forced to deal with a lot more asylum seekers, and that’s why the whole “dream… obsession” with sending asylum seekers to Rwanda first came about in the 2022 Nationality and Borders Bill. The UK had suddenly voted themselves into a situation where they were less able to pass the buck to other European countries, and so needed to find someone to take the slack at a price of £140m. I’m not making any value judgement – you couldn’t possibly argue the EU system was ‘good’, or even that the EU isn’t just a fortress of white supremacy – just to note the fact that the UK no longer shares responsibility for asylum seekers with other countries.
Whatever, they’re getting removed now (not ‘deported’, that term specifically refers to removing criminals and is only widely used by people who don’t understand immigration law), and the Right Brave and Honourable Ms Suella Braverman takes on this responsibility:, as the bill:
Wooooooooooow, OK Suella! Slay! Probably literally (see later)! Remove every person who enters the UK illegally! Quite a responsibility to take on! Shall we look at the logistics? Just a peep?
Firstly, where are you going to remove this people to, dearest Suella? Helpfully, it’s explained in Schedule 5 (3):
The first two points seem simple enough, though there are absolutely not for reasons we’ll get into. The third is kind of dependent on the fourth, as there is no guarantee the country they embarked from will accept them back. And then finally there is the country where there “is reason to believe” the asylum seeker will be accepted. Maybe there a many more details in the pipeline, and perhaps multi trillion pound deals are in the offing with other European countries, but currently that list of countries or territories “which there is reason to believe [the person] will be admitted is as follows:
- That’s it
- Probably didn’t need to be a list
And how are those removals to Rwanda going so far? Well, they’ve been put back to 2024, possibly December this year. And the Rwanda government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo has said that Rwanda currently has space to house 200 asylum seekers, so the UK government better start throwing more money after that £140m initial payment to get those resources ready. I’m also not convinced whether the current price of seven million pounds paid for each asylum seeker Rwanda takes in is a brilliant use of tax payer money. Give me five million and I promise I will house at least two asylum seekers. But this blog is purely about #facts not #feelings, so I’ll move on. Eight nine thousand people claimed asylum in the UK last year, so let’s see how this works at the current level of at least eighteen months to remove 200 people at a cost of £140m. You can’t just move someone to another country without that country’s permission, so right now Rwanda is the UK’s only basket.
Ah, but we can just remove them to their country of nationality, can’t we?? Yes! But that will almost never be the case with people entering the UK illegally!
This is down to the other big central tenet of the Illegal Migration Bill at Schedule 4(1):
If someone enters ‘illegally’, as defined by Schedule 2 above, then their asylum (protection), human rights, or even fricking slavery claim will be disregarded. So the Home Office will no longer even check if someone is a refugee, victim of slavery, or any other woke ideology. Yaaaars, Suella! Own those libs! OK, cool, whatever, everything is fine here, but what does that have to do with removing people to their country of nationality?
Well, because of a little thing called Article 33 of the Refugee Convention, which states:
So you can’t send a refugee back to their own country. Obviously, because you’ve accepted that person is at risk in their own country and that’s why you’ve granted them refugee status. But what if you’re not even assessing if people should be granted asylum?? Considering that around 72% of asylum seekers in the UK are accepted as refugees, you’re going to be accidentally sending a lot of genuine refugees back to their country to be killed. Which the government has obviously decided is not great optics. Firstly, there’s a list of countries where the UK will argue is never going to produce genuine asylum seekers (basically the EU plus Albania, which is another spicy meatball) but if you’re from anywhere else, and say you’re making an asylum claim, the UK can’t send you back to your home country and, fuck, what can they do with you??
Let’s just look at the numbers from last year and think of the current system. Ninety eight percent of all two and a half thousand Eritrean asylum claims were accepted in 2022, and ninety nine percent of the four thousand claims from Syria were accepted. So if an Eritrean or a Syrian enters the UK illegally, it’s almost guaranteed that they are legitimate asylum seekers by UK law. Under these new suggestions, whether they’re legitimate or not, they will all be ignored, never assessed, never given any sort of immigration status, and just have to wait for the UK to work out where it can send them to. But also look at India: around three thousand asylum claims last year, but only a measly 4% were accepted. Under the current laws, after legally deciding that they were not a refugee, you could just remove them to their country of origin, after assessing the case and realising they’re not at risk. So 2’880 of those Indian asylum seekers could just be legally removed back to India. Now, however, because the UK isn’t even going to assess these claims, rather than having 120 Indian refugees and removing the rest back to India, the UK is taking on 3’000 Indians into the country with no feasible way of removing them. And what of the 12’000 Albanians?? Despite the fact that roughly half of them are accepted as being in fear of their safety in their own county, they will actually be sent back to Albania. Unless, of course, “the Secretary of State considers that there are exceptional circumstances which prevent P’s removal to that country”. “Exceptional circumstances” is a subjective term that will need to be properly defined in caselaw, there will be multiple court cases relating multiple people. Instead of an asylum seeker going to court to argue their protection claim, unassessed people will go to court to argue why they shouldn’t be removed. There will be an insanely large backlog of cases, and then after months/years of arguing, the ‘positive’ end result won’t be refugee status, just the right to stay in the UK a little longer undocumented and waiting for the Home Office to put together their next attempt. Because there is no way of getting leave to remain in the country, these battles could go on indefinitely. It is actually mind boggling how much extra work the already stretched Home Office is signing up for.
Hey, what’s your favourite Happy Mondays album?
I’m just doing ‘a bit’, by the way, ‘Stupid Stupid Stupid’ is a fucking abysmal album. ‘It’s Great When You’re Straight’ or GTFO.
Oh, and yeah, this bill is kind of historic, as I can’t think of the last UK act of parliament that officially states that the government doesn’t care about slavery. Even in those pre-William Wilberforce days I’m sure that the government was at least passionately pro slavery, rather than simply being nonplussed about the whole matter (“Sunak is the first prime minister since the peak of the Atlantic slave trade in the 18th century to oppose anti-slavery legislation.”). Protections for victims of modern slavery were originally put in place to bring the UK in line with obligations under the European Convention Against Trafficking (ECAT). Oh, and I guess “because senior government ministers considered that protecting victims of modern slavery and trafficking was the right thing to do“. Mega cringe. The UK will now not even check if people are being trafficked, which might seem harsh/insane, but they do explain their thinking in paragraph 135 of the Explanatory Notes:
The Government considers that it is appropriate to apply the public order
disqualification to illegal entrants in respect of whom the Secretary of State is required to
make arrangements for removal under clause 1, on the basis that it is in the interests of the
protection of public order in the UK including to prevent persons from evading immigration
controls in this country, to reduce or remove incentives for unsafe practices or irregular entry, and to reduce the pressure on public services caused in particular by illegal entry into the UK.
The Government recognises, however, that the application of the public order disqualification to this cohort of illegal entrants (subject to the limited exception where a person is cooperating with law enforcement agencies in the investigation or prosecution of an offence relating to the circumstances of their modern slavery or human trafficking) is a significant step and only justified during such time as the exceptional circumstances relating to the illegal entry into the UK including by persons crossing the Channel in small boats continues to apply.
These are exceptional circumstances! It’s an issue of public order! We’re being invaded!
And yes, best to remove the incentives for human traffickers by punishing their victims. I eagerly await the government ‘removing incentives’ to punch people in the face by refusing to treat the victims at hospitals. Real big brain thinking here. Sorry, this is all getting a bit too “activist blob“. I’m only here for the #facts. Mr. fucking Centrist, me. Why are people so divided? Can’t we find some middle ground? How about we only disregard the human rights of some people? Why can’t I, an adult, just play my bullshit Harry Potter game in peace? The biggest problem in the world right now is cancel culture. Can you define what a woman is though?
OK, so here are the facts:
- There has been no evidence of ‘deterrence’ actually working. Under this government, rules against asylum seekers have got progressively more harsh (I didn’t say ‘cruel’! I think ‘harsh is a fair word to use!) since 2014. In that time period, 26’227 people have drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean. I’d say the latter is far more of a ‘deterrent’ than anything involving Rwanda, and suggests that desperate people will risk far worse than Daily Mail pandering policy to flee to what they consider safety.
Further, they are motivated by hope. That is notoriously hard to kill, although Braverman, Sunak and co are certainly doing their best. The reason refugees choose to keep moving is because, against all the evidence, they hope things will get betterColin Yeo with the mic drop
- This new policy may well deter some asylum seekers, although the similarly harsh Nationality and Borders Act has been in place for months – and the Rwanda flights have been talked about for nearly a year (the first flight was planned in June last year) – with no noticeable effect. Maybe asylum seekers will decide that they’re better off claiming in another European country, but given that the UK received 85’000 asylum claims last year, countries like Spain (128,015), France (179,705) and Germany (296,555!) might be all a bit “Whoah, dude, what the actual WTF?”
- The only reason that small boat journeys became more popular is because other routes became more difficult, as things like lorries were more checked and the fines were increased for drivers who facilitated it. People will find other routes. Those 39 Vietnamese people who suffocated in a storage container a few years back? All those people who fall from planes after attempting to stow themselves onboard in secret? Thinking outside the box, that will soon be very important.
- ‘Removal’ is such a passive way of putting it, like we will simply be relocating a coffee table to the other side of the room. Already, people who have had their asylum claim rejected will fight tooth an claw in desperation to not be removed from the country. These removals (if we ever work out a place that tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants can be removed to) will be violent, they will be traumatic and they will be hideous. People will be desperate. People will be angry. People will be suicidal.
- There will be a lot of people who need to be detained. So many more detention centres will need to be built. A lot of people will get very rich with government contracts. I’ll let Each Other talk more about numbers:
- It is estimated that in the first three years of the legislation coming into effect, between 225,347 and 257,101 people will have their asylum claims deemed inadmissible. This includes between 39,500 and 45,066 children.
- At the end of the third year, between 161,147 and 192,670 people will have had their asylum claims deemed inadmissible but will not be removed. They will be unable to have their asylum claims processed, unable to work and will be reliant on Home Office support and accommodation indefinitely
- In the first three years of the bill passing, between £8.7bn and £9.6bn will have been spent on detaining and accommodating people.
- At the end of the day though, why would anyone make themselves known to the Home Office?? If you tell the Home Office you’ve arrived, they will never grant you asylum or even a human rights application. You will probably be detained indefinitely while they try and work out the Rwanda logistics. If you have a fear of going back to your country because of a real danger, you will happily take your chances staying underground and taking whatever money you can. Being exploited and/or sex trafficked is still a better life than your own country, and you’ve survived the journey here.
- The bill creates an underclass of people who can never get permission to stay in the country and can never work legally. Sex trafficking will go through the roof as it’s essentially decriminalised now, and suddenly there are tens of thousands of very desperate people in the UK. And, you’d imagine, very angry.
- This is all going to cost so much fucking money
OK, I’ve had my completely unbiased and factual rant. The bill is going to cost an unimaginable amount of money, it’s basically a free pass for the criminal industry, it’s going to mean much more work for both the Home Office and agencies such as the one I work at, it’s going to cause so much misery, so much death and will only act as a deterrent to people being found by the Home Office.
Finally, and I hate to say this, but what kind of actions are these measures likely to cause among a 20’000+ underclass of citizens with no hope of ever being recognised as a proper human being?
Oh! Forgot to mention! The children of these asylum seekers can also never become British citizens! Because fuck those kids, ammi right??
This country deserves bombing
(Thanks so much to my crush, Colin Yeo, and his two amazing articles on the bill)