To deal with waves of illegal migrants crossing its borders from Europe and arriving in boats across the English Channel, the UK on Friday (local time) said that it would pay USD 576 million over the next three years as part of a deal with France to combat illegal immigration, reported CNN.
The deal was announced during a joint summit between British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Friday.
The money will finance a new detention center for migrants in France and the deployment of 500 French security and support agents “to enable the fastest detection of attempted crossings” by small boats, a joint statement from the two countries said, reported CNN.
Earlier, British Home Secretary Suella Braverman introduced an Illegal Migration Bill aimed at tackling people crossing the English Channel to reach the UK.
As per the Illegal Migration Bill, people who come to the UK illegally cannot claim asylum, benefit from UK’s modern slavery protections, make spurious human rights claims and also cannot stay in the country.
Sunak, who faces criticism from human rights groups for his moves to block cross-channel immigration with a new law criticized as racist, illegal and unworkable, said the UK “will always comply with our international treaty obligations,” reported CNN.
The UK has seen an increase in the number of illegal migrants who pay human trafficking gangs to smuggle them into Britain in small, non-seaworthy boats. Many of these boats have sunk, and people have died.
An increasing number of refugees and migrants fleeing conflict, persecution and poverty risk the perilous crossing between Britain and France every year, inflaming a national debate on the issue of migrant crossings to the UK.
Tens of thousands of people travel in dinghies unfit for the voyage, and at the mercy of people smugglers, hoping to claim asylum or economic opportunities in the UK. In 2022, 45,755 people crossed the Channel in small boats, according to UK government data. More than 3,000 people have already made the crossing this year.
Last year, the UK government announced a scheme that would see asylum seekers deemed to have entered the UK illegally sent to Rwanda to have their asylum claims processed.
The first planned deportation flight to Rwanda was blocked under the European Convention of Human Rights, a major point of contention in post-Brexit British politics.
However, the controversial policy was deemed lawful by the country’s High Court in December. (ANI)