The Parliament of the United Kingdom Wednesday passed the controversial Illegal Migration Bill through the House of Commons, clearing all reading stages in the lower House of Parliament. Passing by 289 votes to 230, the bill will now move through several readings in the House of Lords. The bill must pass both the House of Lords and receive royal assent to become law.
If passed by the House of Lords, the bill would mean that anyone who arrived in the UK without documents would be prevented from claiming asylum. This would then result in a migrant’s detention and removal to countries such as Rwanda or another “safe country” where the government has a relocation policy. This measure is controversial, as some have suggested it disregards the UK’s promises made when signing the 1951 Refugee Convention. The UNHCR claimed that the bill would “all but extinguish the right to claim asylum in the UK” and risk the welfare of children, and UN Assistant High Commissioner Gillian Triggs, said it “breached” international law.
The bill’s provisions also apply to pregnant women, and unaccompanied child migrants are required to be removed upon reaching age 18. The law would also put a cap on those who arrive through a “safe route” with documentation to the UK. However, according to Home Secretary Suella Braverman, this would only be once the “small boat issue” has been resolved.
The opposition Labour Party proposed five amendments to the bill that were all subsequently quashed in voting which took place Wednesday evening. An amendment was also tabled by former Prime Minister Theresa May which was not voted on.
This is the second contentious bill, alongside the Public Order Bill, to pass through Parliament Wednesday, with the Public Order Bill due to receive Royal Assent.