Home Office admits evidence its plans will reduce Channel crossings “limited”

The Home Office has admitted that there is “limited” evidence that its new immigration plans will reduce Channel crossings.

In an equality impact assessment of the Nationality and Boundaries Bill, released Thursday, the department also says the reforms include “a significant scope of indirect discrimination” and “a potential for direct discrimination on the basis of of the race “.

The government’s new immigration plan, which the Home Office hopes to implement through the bill – which is currently under consideration in parliament – aims to “swiftly turn back” applicants for asylum. asylum arriving in the UK via unauthorized routes, and to grant them only temporary protection, with limited rights if he cannot do so immediately.

The assessment, which the ministry said will “ensure that equality is taken into account at an early stage, to inform decision-making on policies and operations”, recognizes that “increased security and deterrence” could ” encourage “these asylum seekers to” try more risky attempts “. means of entering the United Kingdom ”.

He goes on to state: “However, the deployment of these measures further advances the legitimate objective of encouraging asylum seekers to seek asylum in the first safe country they reach and not to undertake dangerous journeys made easier. by smugglers to get to the UK, although evidence confirms the effectiveness of this approach is limited.

The paper also recognizes that there is a “significant scope of indirect discrimination” in the bill, which it describes as when a “particular protected group is disadvantaged and that disadvantage is not a proportionate means of achieve a legitimate objective ”.

In a section on race, he states that there is “limited potential for direct discrimination on the basis of race (nationality)”, before adding: “We will rely on the limited exceptions that exist in the law of Canada. 2010, which allow direct discrimination. by reason of race, when authorized by a minister or by law.

The department also voices the concern activists have raised over the lack of safe and legal routes to the UK for those who would otherwise be penalized for crossing the Channel, saying there may be circumstances in which a person faces immediate danger in their country of origin. but is not eligible for our refugee resettlement programs ”.

He goes on to say that the Home Secretary “may consider such cases, because of their difficult circumstances, to merit the exercise of discretion to allow individuals to come to the UK” – although it is not clear by what mechanism this could take place. .

The Home Office says at the end of the document that the plans “will advance equal opportunities” for asylum seekers, “in that they can be persuaded not to take these risks.”

It comes after it emerged last week that Priti Patel had ordered authorities to rewrite the UK’s interpretation of maritime laws to allow the Border Force to turn around – a tactic which is mentioned in the bill.

France later warned that the Channel could become a “theater of human tragedies” as the country’s interior minister vowed not to cooperate with the controversial plan, sparking a major diplomatic row.

The Home Office said its new immigration plan “will welcome people through safe and legal channels while preventing abuse of the system, cracking down on illegal entry and discouraging people from crossing the Channel in any way. dangerous and deadly ”.

The plans have been widely criticized by NGOs and lawyers in the UK, as well as by the UNHCR, which has warned that they will “damage lives” and undermine international cooperation on refugee issues.

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