UK's Braverman Pledges 'Whatever It Takes' To Stop Illegal Immigration

 Authored by Lily Zhou via The Epoch Times,

British Home Secretary Suella Braverman on Tuesday vowed to do “whatever it takes” to stop illegal immigration across the English Channel.

UK's Braverman Pledges 'Whatever It Takes' To Stop Illegal Immigration

In her first major speech as home secretary, Braverman told the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham that she wants to “cut [the] overall numbers” of immigration, adding the UK shouldn’t be “relying wholly on low skilled foreign workers.”

Invoking her own heritage as a second-generation immigrant, Braverman said her parents “embraced British values” and integrated into the community, which “didn’t mean abandoning their heritage.”

The home secretary said British people are “losing sight of the core values and the culture that made it so” and have been led “astray” by a combination of “unexamined drive towards multiculturalism as an end in itself” and “the corrosive aspects of identity politics.”

Channel Crossings

“We’ve got to stop the boats crossing the Channel,” Braver told the conference, referring to small boats carrying illegal immigrants who enter Britain by clandestinely crossing the English Channel from France.

According to Home Office figures, the number of people smuggled into the UK in small boats has soared in recent years, with 28,526 people detected in 2021, compared to 8,466 in 2020, 1,843 in 2019, and 299 in 2018.

By the end of September, some 32,807 people had made the perilous journey this year.

A group of illegal immigrants are brought in to Dover, England, by the RNLI, on Aug. 25, 2022.
A group of illegal immigrants are brought in to Dover, England, by the RNLI, on Aug. 25, 2022. (Gareth Fuller/PA Media)

Braverman said there are “no quick fixes” to the “chronic” problem, pledging her “total and undeniable and unfettered and unconditional commitment to doing whatever it takes” to tackle the issue.

The home secretary said she would work with the French to ramp up actions on the French coastline and against people-smuggling gangs; find a way to make the Rwanda scheme work; get asylum seekers out of hotels, which she said costs £5 million a day; and “take back control” of the UK’s immigration policy from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

People who “deliberately enter the United Kingdom illegally from a safe country” should be “swiftly returned” to their home country or relocated to Rwanda, she said.

Braverman’s predecessor Priti Patel signed a deal with Rwanda in April, allowing the UK to send illegal immigrants, including those who seek asylum, on a one-way flight to the African country.

But her first attempt to relocate people to Rwanda was frustrated by the ECHR in Strasbourg, which issued a last-minute injunction to ground the flight—a decision Patel said was made in an opaque way and was “politically motivated.”

Braverman praised Patel and former Prime Minister Boris Johnson for making the “groundbreaking” deal, saying the UK needs to “take back control” from the Strasbourg court.

She also said the UK’s modern slavery laws are “being abused by people gaming the system,” citing a 450 percent increase in modern slavery claims since 2014—many of which she said “are lies”—and anecdotes of foreign sex offenders blocking their removal by making modern slavery claims.

Braverman vowed to seek to introduce new legislation, saying, “UK policy on illegal migration should not be derailed by abuse of our modern slavery laws, Labour’s Human Rights Act, or orders of the Strasbourg Court,” and pledged to double down on enforcement.

Legal Immigration

Braverman also said she wants Britain to “cut overall numbers” in immigration, in an apparent departure from the previous government’s policy.

It comes after speculation that the government may loosen immigration rules for skilled immigrant workers to plug shortages in the labour market.

Braverman said there’s “absolutely no reason why we can’t train up enough of our own HGV drivers, or butchers, or fruit pickers,” adding, “The way we build a high-skilled, high-wage economy is by encouraging business to invest in capital and domestic labour, not relying wholly on low skilled foreign workers.”

Freight lorries queuing at the port of Dover in Kent, England, on Dec
Freight lorries queuing at the port of Dover in Kent, England, on Dec. 18, 2021. (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Earlier on Tuesday, Braverman said at a fringe event of the Conservative Party conference that it was her “ultimate aspiration” to fulfill the pledges of the Conservative governments under former Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and David Cameron and reduce the number of net immigration to “tens of thousands.”

“I’m not going to commit to a number. I think we have got to definitely substantially reduce the number of students, the number of work visas, and in particular the number of dependents on those sorts of visas,” she said.

Ditching the previous Conservative government’s pledge to reduce immigration from “hundreds of thousands” to “tens of thousands,” Johnson campaigned on an “Australian-style” points-based immigration system in 2019.

Under the policy his government introduced, EU citizens could no longer move to the UK without visas from Jan. 1, 2021, but there was a liberalisation of immigration policies for skilled non-EU workers.

A record-high number of visas were granted in the year ending June 2022, but the size of post-Brexit net immigration is unknown, owing to an interruption of survey data collection during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Office for National Statistics’s (ONS’s) ongoing process of changing its estimation methods.

The latest ONS estimate said net immigration in the year ending June 2021 was around 239,000, slightly down from the year ending June 2020 (260,000), but these estimates were based on experimental methods and are subject to uncertainty.

In her main speech, which ended in a standing ovation, Braverman said it’s the “highest duties of [the] state” to keep British people safe and secure borders.

She pledged to tackle violent crime, voicing her support for the police while telling the forces to “get back to common-sense policing” instead of “pandering to identity politics.”

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