UK – Sunak’s Five-Point Plan To Halt Illegal Immigrants
The country plans to house asylum seekers in ex-military bases to stop illegal immigrants from entering the country.
The UK, together with other European countries, has long been a prime destination for people fleeing from their countries in the search for improved conditions. These migrants have been, up until now, housed in hotels shattered across the country. With the election of Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister, however, things are set to change.
Housing problems in the UK and new policies
As a part of Sunak’s five point-plan aimed at halting the arrival of illegal migrants, the new Prime Minister has chosen to put a stop to the use of hotels as housing facilities for asylum seekers. It has been estimated that, today, 400 hotels across the country host a total of 50 thousand refugees.
This costs the government and the British people up to 6.8 million pounds every day. The impact has not only been on the government and on the taxpayers but, has also on small businesses in the tourism sector, which have seen a decrease in requests and revenues due to the current accommodation system.
The relocation of asylum seekers, proposed by Sunak, is therefore aimed at diminishing the costs of dealing with immigrants and to restore businesses in targeted areas.
Proposals for the relocation of migrants
The current plan put forward by the government is expected to focus on the transfer of migrants from hotels to ex-military bases in Essex and Lincolnshire, which will be renovated to host thousands. This will contribute to the decreased financial burden placed on the government and on the population.
As clearly outlined by the immigration minister Robert Jerrick, in fact, these arrangements will be less costly as “these accommodations will meet the basic living needs and requirements and nothing more”.
Not only are they expected to allow the country to save a significant amount of money but also, the replacement of comfortable hotels with simple rooms will discourage future asylum seekers from crossing the Canal to reach the UK and look for opportunities there.
This is crucial since, as stated by Jerrick, if current migratory trends to the UK are perpetuated, the nation will risk “becoming a magnet for millions of people, which will inevitably elevate the wellbeing of the illegal migrants above those of the British people”.
These propositions have received much backlash and opposition. These have mainly been linked to two problems: location and appropriateness.
Many, such as the former home secretary Priti Patel, have pointed out the inadequateness of the chosen locations. The two RAF (Royal Air Force) bases, in fact, have been criticized due to their position and capabilities.
Both are located in rural areas, with narrow roads, no appropriate transportation systems and infrastructures, which do not allow for a smooth transfer and housing of migrants. According to the opposition, this is bound to generate a challenging situation, that towns in the countryside will not be able to manage.
Moreover, others have expressed concerns with the safety of the local population, seeing the transfer of asylum seekers and their integration in the community as a danger to the security of the area.
Many other have pointed out the inappropriateness of the measures, on an ethical level. The Amnesty International’s UK’s refugee and migrant rights programme director, Steve Valdez-Symonds, has argued that these policies are useless as they will not put off migrants, who risk their lives in their home countries, from escaping the dangerous conditions there.
On the contrary, such migrations will continue and the situation in the UK will only worsen if these people are not granted an appropriate arrangement and are not allowed to be integrated into the society properly.
Finally, other charities have deemed these measures “grossly inadequate” since, as put by the chief executor of the Refugee Council, Enver Solomon, the country “must provide a dignified and appropriate accommodation for those fleeing war in their country”.