‘Cruel and abhorrent’ – former asylum seeker Biti blasts UK’s new migrant policy

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By Staff Reporter and Shropshire Star

CRITICISM continues of the British government’s tough new legislation which will ban anyone who arrives in the United Kingdom (UK) in small boats across the English Channel from ever settling in the country.

Announced the measures last Tuesday, Home Secretary Suella Braverman said the government had “pushed the boundaries of international law” with a bill that will bar asylum claims by anyone who reaches the U.K. by unauthorized means, and will compel the government to detain and then deport them “to their home country or a safe third country.” They would be banned from ever reentering the country.

“If you enter Britain illegally, you will be detained and swiftly removed,” Braverman told lawmakers in the House of Commons as she introduced the government’s “Illegal Migration Bill.”

But critics said the plan is unethical and unworkable, since people fleeing war and persecution can’t be sent home, and is likely to be the latest in a series of unfulfilled immigration pledges by successive U.K. governments.

Stanford Biti came to the UK in March 2006 to claim asylum as a refugee from Harare, Zimbabwe, after facing persecution from the national regime, and said he is “angry, disappointed and deeply concerned” by the Government’s proposed Bill.

Stanford Biti

“This is an unworkable, costly, inhuman and anti-refugee legislation – it is cruel and it is abhorrent,” the 52-year-old, who lives in Southend-on-Sea, told PA.

“The language that is being used by the Government is all inhumane.

“The worst thing is that no normal person would risk their lives to come through the English Channel… it is a choice between death and life.”

Mr Biti is now the chief executive officer for Communities and Sanctuary Seekers Together (Cast) – a refugee community organisation which he said “aims to end destitution within the UK draconian immigration system”.

He said the Government needs to work with refugees and organisations like Cast to tackle the issue of asylum seekers crossing the Channel by boat and help them to find safer routes.

“The Government has always appealed to the British community to assist in the global crisis of refugees… they should do the same thing when they’re designing or when they’re crafting Bills like this,” he said.

“Let’s sit down at the round table. We give in our ideas, you come in with your ideas and resolve the problem together.

“We can, together – as asylum seekers, the refugees who have settled here, the refugee community organisations, charities working with refugees, and the Government – stop people getting into the boats.”