The British government announced on Wednesday March 29 that two disused military sites would be used to house migrants, and plans to do the same on boats as part of its arsenal to combat illegal immigration.
Last year, a record number of migrants (more than 45,000) reached English shores crossing the English Channel in small boats, helping to overwhelm the UK asylum system.
The Conservative government intends to deter irregular migrants from coming to the UK.
He wants to send them to Rwanda, a project suspended by court decisions.
We cannot risk becoming a magnet.
Robert Jenrick, British Secretary of State for Immigration
In December, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that he wanted to halve the bill for lodging asylum seekers in hotels.
The latter cost British taxpayers £2.3 billion (2.6 billion euros) a year, Secretary of State for Immigration Robert Jenrick told parliament on Wednesday.
The accommodation of migrants must meet their basic needs, nothing more
," he said.
We cannot risk becoming a magnet for the millions of people who are displaced each year and who seek better economic prospects
,” continued Robert Jenrick.
He revealed the location of the two military sites in Essex, East Sussex (south-east of England) and Lincolnshire (east).
Thanks to the reassignment of old barracks and the installation of prefabricated buildings, the project ultimately aims to accommodate "thousands
of asylum seekers
", he said.
British Secretary of State for Immigration Robert Jenrick at 10 Downing Street, London, UK, March 15, 2023. DANIEL LEAL / AFP
Accommodation “on boats”
In addition, the government continues to "
explore the possibility of accommodating migrants on boats
", he continued.
This eventuality made the headlines on Wednesday morning and was denounced by organizations defending asylum seekers.
In the hope of alleviating reluctance locally, the Secretary of State for Immigration stressed that the places would offer basic medical services and would be permanently guarded.
He also insisted on the aid that will benefit the local authorities where these accommodations will be located.
According to British media, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly is opposed to the opening of such a site in his constituency.
On Tuesday, the government announced a plan to relocate 8,000 Afghans who arrived in the United Kingdom after fleeing the Taliban, and who are still in hotels, sparking criticism from the opposition as well as associations for the defense of refugees.