New British Legislation Cracks Down on Mass Asylum Fraud While Biden Continues to Encourage it
With Title 42 set to expire on May 11, the Biden administration seems to be doing everything in its power to encourage mass illegal immigration and asylum abuse. Meanwhile across the Atlantic, the United Kingdom’s House of Commons recently passed a bill designed to stem both. Perhaps the White House could learn from the British government’s recognition that asylum fraud drives illegal migration and reaffirming the limited, specific purpose of asylum.
The “Illegal Migration Bill 2022-23” passed the first step in its consideration on April 26. This legislation would allow those who enter the UK illegally to be removed more quickly, including to safe third countries. It has now gone to the upper chamber of the British Parliament, the House of Lords, where there is always a danger of it being weakened or watered down. Even so, the bill sends a message advising prospective asylum-shoppers to think twice before attempting to enter the UK illegally. Predictably, it has been aggressively attacked by the UK’s own open-borders lobby.
While the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives has promoted similarly necessary anti-asylum-abuse legislation, in the form of the Secure the Border Act (H.R. 2), there is one key difference: President Joe Biden opposes common-sense legislation, while the UK bill has the backing of its prime minister Rishi Sunak. The legislation is also in line with British public opinion (whereas rewarding mass illegal migration is unpopular in both the U.S. and Britain).
The number of foreign nationals attempting to sneak into the UK illegally by crossing the English Channel in small boats has risen sharply in recent years, from 299 in 2018 to 28,526 in 2021 and 45,755 in 2022. These numbers may seem small compared with our own border troubles, but Britain’s population is one-fifth that of the U.S. and, if left unchecked, would likely continue climbing higher. The migrants arrive mainly from Albania, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, and Eritrea. Having passed through multiple safe third countries, they illegally enter the UK hoping to abuse the asylum process. However, most are economic migrants and some are outright dangerous, whether ordinary criminals or terrorist infiltrators. Home Secretary Suella Braverman revealed that “[w]e are seeing heightened levels of criminality when related to the people who’ve come on boats, related to drug dealing, exploitation, [and] prostitution.”
The authors of the new British bill recognize that illegal migration is driven largely by incentives and disincentives. When falsely claiming asylum becomes a golden ticket, many economic migrants will seize the opportunity to abuse the system. When policies of deterrence increase the chances of being apprehended and deported, many will think twice about paying significant sums to human smugglers. The legislation should also remind us about the legitimate bases for an asylum claim in US law: fears of government persecution due to one’s race, religion, nationality, political opinions, and/or membership in a particular social group. Although the open-borders lobby would love to treat it as such, it is not a general hardship provision.