We are disappointed and gravely concerned in response to news this morning that the new Home Secretary plans to legislate to ban those entering the country irregularly from claiming asylum.
There are no safe routes to claim asylum in the UK. Instead of introducing further complex and likely unworkable legislation, the government should be investing in the creation of safe routes.
The Home Secretary has also questioned the economic value of asylum seekers, claiming that "we need to... cut down on those numbers that aren't meeting the needs of our economy." Asylum claims should always be assessed based on rights and protection needs and not the needs of the state. Despite repeated campaigns and public support for asylum seekers having the right to work while their claim is assessed, they remain unable to do so. In addition, chronic underinvestment in legal advice, English classes, access to work and in-work support in the UK prevents many refugees from achieving their full potential.
We would like to see existing legislation amended to overcome these challenges, rather than new legislation introduced to further penalise asylum seekers based on their mode of arrival in UK.