Suella Braverman’s ‘stop the boats’ plan would bar 45,000 UK children | Refugees

Suella Braverman’s plan to stop the Channel crossings would prevent up to 45,000 refugee children from entering the UK, the Observer it was said.

The claims are made in an upcoming Refugee Council report looking at the overall impact of the illegal migration bill, which reveals the possible extent of children who may have their asylum claims deemed inadmissible under the new laws. The news comes as the home secretary faces growing rebellion from both wings of the Conservative party over her controversial plans to tackle the English Channel crossings, amid growing concerns about their impact on children and victims of trafficking.

Braverman is on a visit to Rwanda following an agreement to deport asylum seekers to the African country once they reach the UK. The plan is suspended following a court challenge.

Suella Braverman visits site to house deported asylum seekers in Rwanda – video

However, senior Conservatives are already involved in plans this weekend to revise their proposals, which would see asylum seekers arriving in small boats automatically barred from settling in the UK. Former ministers are involved in attempts to overhaul the policy, while former Prime Minister Theresa May has already voiced her concerns about the impact on victims of human trafficking.

Meanwhile, an attempt is also expected to be made to strengthen the government’s ability to bypass the European human rights court when dealing with the English Channel crossings. Some conservatives believe the plans do not go far enough to flout human rights legislation and suspect Braverman would also like to go further.

“They have a problem at both ends of the party,” said a key figure involved in revising the plans. “They have a problem with ultras – people who think the bill needs to go further and specifically do more to delete provisions of the Human Rights Act. Frankly, that’s where the Home Secretary is.

Migrants being picked up in the Canal. There is growing concern among Conservatives about the new bill’s impact on children and victims of trafficking. Photography: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

“Then you have people like me and many others. It’s no slam dunk that they can beat us in the House of Commons, and we can at least strengthen the Lords hand by showing there are real concerns amongst MPs [over these plans].”

Despite the riots, Braverman is resisting any amendments to his illegal migration bill, which the Home Office is trying to pass into law. Insiders said attempts to add protections for children and families, as well as victims of trafficking, could end up creating loopholes that would be exploited by gangs involved in transporting people across the Canal.

Growing Conservative concerns come after a House of Commons debate on the proposals last week, which saw several senior figures, including May, voice their reservations. May, who introduced the Modern Slavery Act in 2015 when she was Home Secretary, said the Home Office “knows that genuine victims of modern slavery would not be supported” under the bill.

“In the current situation, we are closing the door on victims who are being trafficked into [modern] slavery [in] UK,” she said. “Anyone who thinks this bill will solve the issue of illegal migration once and for all is wrong.”

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Former ministers Caroline Nokes, Robert Buckland, Stephen Hammond, Priti Patel and Chris Skidmore are among those concerned. The bill says that refugees who arrive in the UK without prior permission will be detained for 28 days and that asylum applications will be deemed “inadmissible” whatever the individual’s circumstances. This includes children.

Suella Braverman Says Children Won’t Be Detained Under Illegal Migration Bill – Video

In the House of Commons, Braverman told MPs that the duty of removal “will not apply to the detention and removal of unaccompanied children seeking asylum”. However, concern remains over the detention of families, as well as the extensive powers given to Braverman over the treatment of unaccompanied children. Braverman excluded certain media from his trip to Rwanda, including the Guardian and the BBC. She said migrants leaving for the country “will act as a powerful deterrent against dangerous and illegal travel”. Braverman is due to meet with the country’s president, Paul Kagame, and his colleague Vincent Biruta to discuss the deal. She claimed that Rwanda could host “many thousands” of migrants – although none have been relocated.

Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said the trip was “an expensive distraction from the immoral and unworkable Braverman bill”. He added: “Suella Braverman is wasting taxpayers’ money to flaunt the Conservative Party’s latest vanity project in Rwanda. Liberal Democrats will oppose this terrible anti-refugee bill, which is nothing more than a letter from criminal traffickers.”

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