The Illegal Migration Bill seeks to make asylum applications made people who arrive irregularly into the UK permanently inadmissible, including those made by both accompanied and separated children. Any claim that is declared inadmissible cannot subsequently be considered within the UK’s asylum process.
The Bill also places a duty on the Home Secretary to arrange for the removal of anyone arriving irregularly, and while there is an exception for separated children, she retains the power to remove them, which becomes a duty when a child turns 18. There are extensive powers to detain people, including children, with no time limits applying and with applications for bail not possible for the first 28 days.
Key principles on children:
• The right to protection from persecution, discrimination and violence is a cornerstone of our international and domestic laws, including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We are deeply concerned that provisions in the Bill will significantly undermine these principles.
• Significantly, provisions are likely to undermine the key principles of the child protection framework, like the 1989 Children’s Act by giving the Home Secretary the power to provide accommodation and other forms of support to separated children.
• According to the Refugee Council’s impact assessment, between 13,089 and 14,935 unaccompanied children and between 26,483 and 30,218 children with family members will have their asylum claims deemed inadmissible. It is difficult to see how the Home Secretary can fulfill her duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, i.e. s55 Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 duty in the context of such draconian and regressive rules being introduced.
• In total, between £10.1bn and £11bn will have been spent on detaining and accommodating people impacted by the Bill.