Home Secretary, Priti Patel, is planning to establish offshore processing centers in Africa to deal with dangerous migrant crossings across the English Channel.
According to The Times (June 28), Patel is set to introduce the Nationality and Borders Bill next week, one of whose provisions will allow the government to create an offshore immigration processing center for the first time.
In part inspired by the Australian model, the plans for offshore processing centers in fact owe more to intense discussions with the Danish government.
Patel has reportedly been consulting with Denmark over sharing a center in Rwanda with a view to deterring boat crossings across the English Channel.
The consultation comes in the wake of the Danish government passing a similar bill last month to establish an offshore processing center for asylum seekers in Africa.
Patel’s plan reportedly has the full backing of Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, who is equally keen as the Home Secretary to get to grips with the cross-channel migration challenge.
According to multiple reports, 315 migrants crossed the English Channel over the weekend, taking this year’s total to 5,676.
But Patel’s plan has elicited a sharp rebuke from refugee groups and charities, as well as MPs opposed to a harsh crackdown on asylum seekers.
Reacting to the Home Secretary’s plan, the chief executive of the Refugee Council, Enver Solomon said: “Offshore processing is an act of cruel and brutal hostility towards vulnerable people who through no fault of their own have had to flee war, oppression and terror”.
Meanwhile, the Scottish National Party’s Westminster group leader, Ian Blackford, tweeted: “If Priti Patel wants to send asylum seekers to Rwanda she will have a fight on her hands”.
If @pritipatel wants to send asylum seekers to Rwanda she will have a fight on her hands. Not in our name. We treat people with respect and dignity. This is inhumane in the extreme. Where is our humanity. This Tory Govt is prepared to engage in morally reprehensible behaviour. https://t.co/eUshmWegyW— Ian Blackford (@Ianblackford_MP) June 27, 2021