Refugees arriving across the English Channel in small boats will be electronically tagged and face prosecution if they do not comply, according to new Home Office proposals.
The 12-month pilot scheme will see those arriving in Britain via dangerous or “unnecessary” routes fitted with tags. However, this can potentially include refugees who are victims of torture and trafficking.
The approach has been called “punitive” and “draconian” by left-wing activists, who argue that those who flee to Britain for safety are treated as “criminals”.
Critics also insist there is “no concrete evidence” that the measures will lead to better compliance, The Independent reports.
Refugees arriving across the English Channel in small boats will be electronically tagged and prosecuted if they do not comply (Pictured: Immigrants brought into the Port of Dover tonight)
The 12-month pilot scheme will see those arriving in Britain via dangerous or ‘unnecessary’ routes fitted with tags (Pictured: migrants brought into the Port of Dover tonight)
The approach has been called ‘punitive’ and ‘draconian’ by left-wing activists, who argue that those fleeing to Britain for safety are being treated as ‘criminals’ (Pictured: migrants brought into the Port of Dover this night)
A pilot gestures from the Rwandan deportation flight on the ground at Boscombe Down Air Base on Tuesday.
The new rules will stipulate that those on the electronic label must comply with the instructions of the Ministry of the Interior.
Asylum seekers can be detained and expelled if labeling conditions are breached, Home Office guidance states.
Refugee Council chief executive Enver Solomon said: “It is appalling that this government intends to treat men, women and children who have fled war, bloodshed and persecution as criminals.”
“Not only does this draconian and punitive approach show no compassion for the very vulnerable, it will also do nothing to deter those desperately seeking safety in the UK.”
The new rules will stipulate that those on the electronic label must comply with the instructions of the Ministry of the Interior, in specific time periods.
Conditions could include a curfew or an exclusion zone around a certain area if necessary.
A difficult week follows for the government, which faced criticism in the political divide after a plane meant to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda ended up on the ground following a last-minute intervention by the European Court of Human Rights.
It is understood that the 130 asylum seekers who had originally been designated for the flight will be the first in the elevator for electronic tagging.
Protesters gathered outside Colnbrook Immigration Detention Center at Heathrow and lay on the ground in an effort to stop Tuesday’s flight, which was later canceled after legal wrangling.
A convoy believed to be carrying asylum seekers leaves MOD Boscombe Down on Tuesday after a private charter plane landed just before it was due to take off for Rwanda.
A Home Office spokesman said: “We will hold as many people in detention as the law allows, but where a court orders a person who is due on Tuesday’s flight to be released, we will tag them where appropriate.”
The deportation plan to Rwanda last Thursday came to a complete halt after an after-hours European Court of Human Rights judge made the last-minute intervention, informing the crew that the Boeing 767 was unable to take off as scheduled from MOD. Boscombe Down, Salisbury. , while the clock marked 22:30.
Although it was widely reported that only seven migrants were due to be deported from the UK last Tuesday, defiant ministers had previously insisted that the flight would go ahead even if there was only one person on board.
But in a late turn, all the asylum seekers who were due to be transferred on the first plane to the capital, Kigali, disembarked from the plane before departure, giving the first confirmation that the flight would not continue.
The drastic development puts the ministers on a collision course with the Strasbourg court, which is part of the Council of Europe and separate from the European Union.
A soldier carries a child near a woman getting off the boat in Dover on Tuesday.
The inflatable boats are being towed into the marina this week after they brought a group of people to Dover.
The High Court is also due to conduct a judicial review in July to decide on the legality of the Rwanda scheme.
A Downing Street source said: “It is an abomination that after national courts have repeatedly ruled in favor of the government, that an out-of-hours judge at the European Court has stepped in to block the deportation of illegal immigrants to Rwanda.”
The charter plane from Rwanda is believed to have cost the taxpayer up to £500,000. Adding to the fury inside Whitehall, it appears that at this stage the Home Office has no way of challenging the European court’s decision.
Despite the last-minute legal challenge, a Rwandan government source, speaking to ITV, insisted they remained ‘undeterred’ and ‘committed to making the partnership work’.
Meanwhile, Ms Patel issued a forceful rebuttal of the Strasbourg judge’s ruling, saying she was disappointed the flight to Rwanda could not leave but would not be “deterred from doing the right thing”.