• Tuesday, February 27, 2024


‘Asylum seekers can’t just vanish’: Boris Johnson supports Home Office plan to electronically tag refugees

It’s not clear how many people will be tagged.


Home Secretary Priti Patel looks on as Prime Minister Boris Johnson tries his hand at baking during a visit to the HideOut Youth Zone on October 3, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

BRITISH prime minister Boris Johnson has defended government plans to electronically tag some asylum seekers who arrive in the UK in small boats or lorries, reports said. 

Earlier this week, the Home Office published guidance on a 12-month pilot using electronic tagging to monitor individuals who arrive in the country illegally.

On Saturday (18), the Home Office said some of those who had been due to be on Tuesday’s (14) flight to Rwanda could be tagged.

“We will keep as many people in detention as the law allows but where a court orders that an individual due to be on Tuesday’s flight should be released, we will tag them where appropriate,” a spokesperson said.

Documents also suggest that the government wants to obtain data on how frequently asylum seekers abscond.

Campaigners have described the measures, which could affect refugees crossing the Channel, as “draconian”.

Johnson said it was essential that people could not simply “vanish into the rest of the country.”

“This is a very, very generous welcoming country. Quite right too. I am proud of it, but when people come here illegally, when they break the law, it is important that we make that distinction,” Johnson was quoted as saying by Sky News.

“That is what we are doing with our Rwanda policy. That is what we are doing with making sure that asylum seekers can’t just vanish into the rest of the country.”

Johnson said that he was confident of the legality of his government’s plan to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda after the first flight was blocked at the last minute by the European human rights court.

The court issued an injunction on Tuesday to stop the scheduled deportation of a handful of migrants on board, a decision Johnson described as a “weird last minute hiccup”.

“Every single court in this country said there was no obstacle that they could see, no court in this country ruled the policy unlawful which was very, very encouraging,” Johnson told reporters.

“We are very confident in the legality, the lawfulness of what we are doing and we are going to pursue the policy.”

Meanwhile, home secretary Priti Patel suggested that a European court’s intervention to stop a deportation flight to Rwanda was politically motivated.

“You’ve got to look at the motivation,” she told the Daily Telegraph.  “How and why did they make that decision? Was it politically motivated? I’m of the view that it is, absolutely.

“The opaque way this court has operated is absolutely scandalous. That needs to be questioned.”

Patel said the government had not been told the identity of the ECHR judges and had not received the full ruling of the order not to remove the migrants until a review of the policy was complete.

“They’ve not used this ruling previously, which does make you question the motivation and the lack of transparency,” she added.

Eastern Eye

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