Home News UK tries to move asylum seekers overseas, but Ireland resists

UK tries to move asylum seekers overseas, but Ireland resists


UK’s newly approved plan to house asylum seekers One-way flights to Rwanda Arousing opposition from human rights groups, the UK and the European Court of Justice, House of Lords There are even some members of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party.

To that list, add another injured party: Ireland.

The Irish government last week said it feared British asylum seekers being deported to Rwanda Travel to Ireland. It is drafting emergency legislation to return them to the UK, sparking conflict with neighboring countries which say they will refuse to accept them.

Irish officials estimate that 80% of recent asylum applicants have entered the country through Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and has an open border with the Republic of Ireland. This suggests that Britain’s vow to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda has had some deterrent effect, and is part of Sunak’s sales pitch for the policy.

But that comes at the expense of Ireland, which is already struggling to absorb an influx of refugees from Ukraine and elsewhere and has seen violent clashes over migrants erupt in small towns and big cities. “This country will not in any way, shape or form provide a loophole for anyone else’s immigration challenges,” Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris said on Sunday.

“Other countries can decide how to promote immigration,” Mr Harris said. become prime minister earlier this month. “From an Irish perspective, we intend to have a strong rules-based system where the rules are in place, the rules are in force and the rules are seen to be enforced.”

However, British officials countered on Monday that they would not accept any asylum seekers from EU member Ireland unless they reached a broader deal with the bloc to return them to France, another EU member from where many of the refugees have traveled. France. Britain crosses the English Channel in a small boat.

“We’re certainly not going to do that,” Mr Sunak told ITV News about accepting Irish returnees. “I am determined to get our Rwanda plan up and running because I want a deterrent.” He added: “I will make absolutely no apology for doing everything I can to combat illegal immigration.”

The Rwanda policy has unexpectedly brought the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland back into the spotlight, echoing tensions between Britain and Ireland after Britain voted to leave the European Union in 2016. The Republic of Ireland strives to maintain an open land border with Ireland. Northern Ireland, which necessitates complex negotiations between London and Brussels over trading arrangements in the north.

After years of friction, Sunak last year seemed to finally resolve the issue by agreeing an agreement with the EU called the “Windsor Framework”. But Britain on Sunday abruptly canceled a meeting between Home Secretary James Cleverley and Ireland’s Justice Minister Helen McEntee, heightening the sense of a new diplomatic crisis. Meetings between low-level British and Irish officials resulted in only a vague agreement to “keep a close eye on the issue”.

“This is a problem that needs to be solved, but I don’t see any easy solutions,” said Bobby McDonagh, the former Irish ambassador to Britain. “That’s obviously not going to work if large numbers of refugees are coming through the UK and coming here via Northern Ireland.”

The problem is that political pressure from both sides is not conducive to solving the problem. For Sunak, who has lobbied for months against legal challenges to the passage of the Rwanda plan, the transfer of asylum seekers to Ireland is proof that his policies are working. Instead of bringing the men back, he vowed to round up thousands of people still in the UK and put them on a plane to Rwanda.

Analysts in Dublin said Harris was under pressure to take firm action as rising numbers of asylum seekers combined with Ireland’s severe housing shortage are causing social unrest. Protesters in County Wicklow clashed with police last week over a proposed accommodation for refugees.A riot had its origins in anti-immigration hatred Last autumn, earthquakes struck parts of Dublin.

“Protests are becoming increasingly ugly and violent, orchestrated by groups who see Ireland as fertile ground,” said Diamade Ferrit, professor of modern Irish history at University College Dublin. “Politicians face being seen as taking more “With pressure to do more, they are trying to reduce support from anti-immigration forces.”

The tensions are even changing Ireland’s political landscape. For example, the main opposition Sinn Féin’s poll ratings have fallen in recent months amid criticism that it is not tough enough on immigration.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald criticized the government for failing to be honest with residents about how immigration would affect their towns.

“You need rules and regulations,” McDonald told a recent press conference in London. “Especially in poorer areas that are less serviced, they struggle even more when they think about people coming in.”

Sunak predicted that Britain’s use of Rwanda to process asylum claims would be copied by other countries. But critics say it will pose a thorny challenge to the global legal system that protects refugees. If more countries outsource the processing of asylum seekers, they may end up diverting refugee flows to their nearest neighbours, as is the case in the UK.

In addition, Mr Harris faces some of the same legal hurdles that have plagued Mr Sunak in pursuing his Rwanda policy. Ireland’s High Court has ruled that the government cannot designate the UK as a “safe third country” and send asylum seekers there because it could send them to Rwanda.

The UK Supreme Court struck down an earlier version of the Rwandan legislation because it determined Rwanda was not a safe country. Sunak subsequently signed a treaty with the Rwandan government and changed legislation, essentially overturning the court ruling. Parliament passed the law last week.

Irish immigration experts have cast doubt on the government’s claim that 80 per cent of asylum claimants have recently crossed the border from Northern Ireland. They said some people may have arrived at an airport or seaport in the Republic of Ireland but not immediately applied for asylum status.

Nonetheless, Nick Henderson, chief executive of the Irish Refugee Council, said: “If large numbers of people are moving to Ireland from the UK, it should be taken into account that the UK is not a safe country for people seeking protection.”

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