UK Enacts Strict Border Laws as US Finds 46 Migrants Dead in a Truck in Texas

UK's law raised the maximum penalty for illegal entering or overstaying a visa from 6 months in prison to 4 years

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Edited By :Padmashree Pande

The United Kingdom enacted the Nationality and Borders Act on Tuesday, 28 June, hours after an abandoned tractor-trailer was found on a remote road in San Antonio, Texas, with 46 dead migrants.

The legislation in the UK increases the maximum penalty for illegally entering the country or overstaying a visa from six months in prison to four years, according to a report by The Scotsman.

It will also allow the UK government to deport foreign national offenders up to 12 months prior to the end of their prison sentences.

Moreover, anyone who is found to have piloted a small boat with migrants across the Channel will face life in prison, under the new law.

According to the UK Government, this legislation will help Britain to "take back control of our borders".

This decision comes after the government's scheme to send refugees who arrive in the UK illegally to Rwanda for processing and resettlement drew international criticism.

Those migrants who come into the UK illegally such as in a truck or in a private boat would have been on the first flight to Rwanda earlier this month. However, the first flight was abandoned earlier this month, after a last-minute ruling by the European Court of Human Rights. Irrespective of the ruling, the UK government has pledged to continue with the scheme.


Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty International UK's Refugee and Migrant Rights Director, said the UK government had abandoned international responsibility to refugees.

"It's a truly bleak day for refugees fleeing conflict and persecution. Despite widespread opposition, including on its own backbenches, the Government has today ripped up the 1951 Refugee Convention and shamefully abandoned the international responsibility it owes to refugees."
Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty International UK's Refugee and Migrant Rights Director.

Refugee Crisis in Europe

The International Organisation for Migration shows that the number of migrants has sky rocketed in recent years even though the percentage of the global population remains around three percent.

On the other hand, the number of people who have died or gone missing while trying to cross borders into a different country has risen drastically to 5,914 in 2021. The deadliest route is supposed to be the one across the Mediterranean entering Europe.

The number of migrants crossing the Channel so far this year has already risen up to 12,312. Whereas, the number was 5,654 by this time in 2021 and 2,449 in 2020.

US Migrant Crisis

In the US, the truck with the 46 dead migrants was found on Monday evening on the outskirts of San Antonio. At least 16 others, including four children, were taken to the hospital and are being treated for heat exhaustion and dehydration.

About 22 of the 46 dead were Mexicans, seven Guatemalans and two Hondurans, said Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico's Foreign Minister, on Twitter. The country of origin of the others has not yet been identified.

US President Joe Biden's government has attempted to overturn laws implemented by former president Donald Trump during the COVID-19 pandemic. The law that has been in effect since March 2020 essentially shut the borders to migrants and removed the access to apply for asylum, as reported by the Associated Press.

The policy is currently being considered by the US Supreme Court.

Republican Texas governor Greg Abbott blamed Biden for the deaths and so did some other lawmakers.

(With inputs from the Associated Press, Reuters, and The Scotsman)

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Topics:  United Kingdom   Texas   Joe Biden 

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