Migrants who arrive in Britain illegally could be transferred 4,000 miles away to the British Overseas Territory of Ascension Island if the U.K. government’s plan to deport migrants to the African nation of Rwanda is thwarted, it has emerged.
The Conservative administration is awaiting a judgment from the Supreme Court, Britain’s highest judicial authority, on the legality of its Rwanda plan, which sparked outrage among the liberal establishment.
Under current government proposals, Britain would pay Rwanda to accommodate deported illegal migrants who reached British soil. The plan has so far been thwarted by what the government calls left-wing lawyers who have blocked deportations using human rights legislation, which to date has been accepted by the courts.
As a British territory, Ascension Island could be a viable alternative as the government attempts to de-incentivize prospective illegal migrants from crossing the English Channel from mainland Europe seeking to claim asylum in Britain. Around £5.5 million is currently being spent by the U.K. government each day on accommodating the influx of asylum seekers, and resources for trying to clear the backlog of asylum applications are stretched.
“Well, times change. We look at all possibilities. This crisis in the Channel is urgent, we need to look at all possibilities, and that is what we are doing,” said Home Officer Minister Sarah Dines when asked about the Ascension Island contingency plan by Sky News.
“We are determined to make sure there isn’t the pull factor for illegal migrants to come to this country, basically to be abused by criminal organized gangs. These are international operations and they have got to stop,” she added.
“This is the right and sensible thing to do – and it’s what our voters would expect of us,” said one senior government source, cited by MailOnline.
The move would see the government succeed in moving migrants offshore; however, the long-term issue of what happens to those whose applications are rejected would remain a concern.
In the near term, the U.K. government is intent on reducing the taxpayer burden in housing existing asylum seekers in the country and has sought to relocate those already residing in Britain from hotels across the country to more semi-permanent accommodation, including disused army bases and migrant barges.
The first migrants arrived at the Stockholm Bibby migrant barge located on the tied island of Portland in Dorset on Monday; they were met by pro-migrant organizations holding “Welcome” banners and gifting toiletry packs and contact details of organizations offering support.