Authorities detected nearly 40,000 irregular arrivals for the nine months between January 2022 and September 2022, surpassing numbers made through the entirety of last year, according to data from the nation’s government. Sunak remarked in a speech before the House of Commons that illegal immigration is “unfair” to those who enter the country legally.
“It is unfair on those with a genuine case for asylum when our capacity to help is taken up by people coming through, and from, countries that are perfectly safe,” he said. “It is unfair on those who come here legally when others come here by cheating the system. And above all, it is unfair on the British people who play by the rules when others come here illegally and benefit from breaking those rules.”
Sunak noted that the United Kingdom had welcomed refugees from Hong Kong, Afghanistan, and Ukraine in recent years as their nations descended into turmoil under the auspices of existing refugee laws. He asserted that present asylum seekers, particularly those who cross the English Channel via small boats organized by sophisticated criminal units, often come from safe countries and abuse statutes crafted out of the nation’s “generosity of spirit.”
The crackdown on illegal immigration across the pond comes as the United States experiences a surge in unlawful border crossings. The Biden administration has nevertheless overseen a 71% decline in deportations, according to a report from the Center for Immigration Studies.
The United Kingdom is poised to launch a Small Boats Operational Command that will aid cooperation between various civilian and law enforcement agencies. “It will coordinate our intelligence, interception, processing, and enforcement,” he continued, “and use all available technology, including drones for reconnaissance and surveillance, to pick people up and identify and then prosecute more gang-led boat pilots.”
Sunak also established an objective of increasing raids on illegal work by 50% and relocating migrants from hotels, for which the nation’s government spends £5.5 million every day, to alternative locations such as discontinued student dormitories and military sites.
As many as one-third of migrants arriving on small boats, which constituted the majority of the immigration surge over the past year, are from Albania, which other nations in Europe consider fundamentally safe. Sunak said his government struck a deal with Albanian counterparts to embed officers in the country and raise thresholds for those seeking asylum. The premier will also introduce new legislation to make “unambiguously clear” that those entering the United Kingdom illegally “should not be able to remain here.”
“Instead, you will be detained and swiftly returned either to your home country or to a safe country where your claim for asylum will be considered,” he said, “and you will no longer be able to frustrate removal attempts with late or spurious claims or appeals.”
Sunak, who formerly served as finance minister under Boris Johnson, is the country’s first nonwhite prime minister, as his parents are of Punjabi Indian descent. His succession as leader of the Conservative Party comes after years of political chaos within the faction, including the failure of an economic growth and tax cut plan from predecessor Liz Truss that led to her resignation after a mere six weeks in power.
Beyond tumult in the Conservative Party, the nation has been enduring a severe energy crisis and persistent inflation. Truss had pushed for higher fossil fuel production and set the goal of becoming a net exporter of energy by 2040.