Posted on March 8, 2023

UK Tells Small-Boat Migrants: We Will Detain and Deport You

Andrew Macaskill and Kylie Maclellan, Reuters, March 7, 2023

Britain has set out details of a new law barring the entry of asylum seekers arriving in small boats across the Channel, a proposal some charities say could be impractical and criminalise the efforts of thousands of genuine refugees.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has made stopping boat arrivals one of his five key priorities after the number of migrants arriving on the south coast of England soared to more than 45,000 last year, up 500% in the last two years.

The new legislation will mean anyone who arrives this way will be prevented from claiming asylum and deported either back to their homeland or to so-called safe third countries.


The legislation will allow the detention of migrants without bail until they can be removed, interior minister Suella Braverman said, and those entering Britain illegally would no longer be able to use anti-slavery laws to try to block removal.

Only children, people who are considered too ill to fly or those at a “real risk of serious and irreversible harm” will be allowed to claim asylum in Britain.


While the number of applications for asylum in the UK hit a 20-year high of nearly 75,000 in 2022, it is still below the European Union average. Germany received more than 240,000 asylum applications last year.


Last year, Britain agreed a deal to send tens of thousands of migrants more than 4,000 miles away (6,400 km) to Rwanda.

The first deportation flight was blocked by an injunction from the European Court of Human Rights. London’s High Court then ruled it lawful in December, but opponents are seeking to appeal that verdict.