London: Britain is facing a domestic and international backlash after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak today unveiled contentious legislation to overhaul the way it handles migrants crossing the channel on small boats.
1. The Illegal Migration Bill places a legal duty on the interior minister to deport anyone who enters the UK illegally, superseding their other rights under human rights conventions.
2. They would be deported home or to a "safe third country", such as Rwanda, under an existing UK plan, where they could then claim asylum.
3. Legal challenges or human rights claims would be heard in that country.
4. Illegal entrants who are removed also face a lifetime ban on citizenship and re-entry to the UK.
5. More than 45,000 arrivals from across the Channel were recorded last year, with 3,150 already having made the journey so far in 2023.
6. Interior minister Suella Braverman says that as many as 80,000 could cross by the end of the year, and that the "broken" asylum system is costing UK taxpayers £3 billion ($3.55 billion) annually.
7. The bill has drawn vocal support from many Conservative MPs and right-wing newspapers.
8. But critics including UK rights groups and United Nations agencies have expressed deep concern.
9. The main opposition Labour party wants the money spent instead on a crackdown on criminal gangs behind the cross-Channel traffic.
10. BBC football presenter Gary Lineker, a longtime critic of the government's migration policies, even compared the new plan to the rhetoric of Nazi-era Germany.