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Montevideo, October 28th 2020 - 08:59 UTC

 

 

UK considered building asylum processing centers in Ascension and St Helena

Wednesday, September 30th 2020 - 09:50 UTC
Full article 19 comments
In the end, it appears that Ms Patel decided not to go ahead with the scheme, however the Home Office made no attempt to deny the idea had been considered. In the end, it appears that Ms Patel decided not to go ahead with the scheme, however the Home Office made no attempt to deny the idea had been considered.
Home Office officials were instructed to look into the feasibility of transferring asylum seekers arriving in the UK to a centre on Ascension Island Home Office officials were instructed to look into the feasibility of transferring asylum seekers arriving in the UK to a centre on Ascension Island
Labour condemned the scheme as “inhumane, completely impractical and wildly expensive”. Labour condemned the scheme as “inhumane, completely impractical and wildly expensive”.

British Home Secretary Priti Patel ordered officials to explore plans for building an asylum processing centre on a remote volcanic island in the south Atlantic – more than 4,000 miles from the UK, it has been reported.

Home Office officials were instructed to look into the feasibility of transferring asylum seekers arriving in the UK to a centre on Ascension Island, a British overseas territory, according to the Financial Times.

Another option said to have been considered was to construct an asylum centre on St Helena, another island in the group where Napoleon was exiled after his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo.

The Foreign Office was consulted on the proposals, according to the paper, and provided an assessment on the practicalities of shipping migrants to such remote locations.

Officials were said to have considered plans for an asylum centre on Ascension Island.

In the end, it appears that Ms Patel decided not to go ahead with the scheme, however the Home Office made no attempt to deny that the idea had been considered.

Labour condemned the scheme as “inhumane, completely impractical and wildly expensive”.

A Home Office official said: “The UK has a long and proud history of offering refuge to those who need protection. Tens of thousands of people have rebuilt their lives in the UK and we will continue to provide safe and legal routes in the future.

“As ministers have said we are developing plans to reform policies and laws around illegal migration and asylum to ensure we are able to provide protection to those who need it, while preventing abuse of the system and the criminality associated with it.”

Ascension Island, which has been used as a staging post to supply and defend the Falkland Islands, has an RAF base and population of fewer than 1,000. It is currently rented to the United States.

Moving asylum seekers there and keeping them supplied was said to represent a considerable logistical challenge.

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said: “This ludicrous idea is inhumane, completely impractical and wildly expensive. So it seems entirely plausible this Tory Government came up with it.”

The proposal appears to further reflect the influence of Australia – which has used offshore processing and detention centers for asylum seekers since the 1980s – on the UK’s immigration and asylum policy.

The Government has based its post-Brexit points-based immigration system on that developed in Australia.

Ms Patel recently met with former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott, known for his tough stance on immigration, who was appointed by Boris Johnson as a trade adviser to the UK. 

Top Comments

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  • Islander1

    Sorry- USA does not rent Ascension Island! It has a resident British administrator- who represent the Governor of t Helena- to which ascension is part of. And Ascension has its own elected Assembly.
    USA has an Airbase there and it has been used also as a missile,test range- all under a treaty with Britain.

    But to set up an asylum Base there crazy expensive - I agree with Labour. same on St Helena. - daft thought.

    Sep 30th, 2020 - 11:45 am +1
  • downunder

    Notwithstanding that this is just an investigative process, the Argentine will probably seize the opportunity to be off to the UN to complain, yet again, about British colonialism, zones of ‘peace, piratical usurpation and all the usual drivel that it goes on about. I wonder why no one wants to seek asylum in Argentina?

    Sep 30th, 2020 - 02:56 pm +1
  • Chicureo

    South Georgia Island is breathtakingly beautiful and has several abandoned buildings ideal or converting to relocation centers. Immigrants could each be given a free parka and a complementary cookbook on preparing penguins and seals.

    Perhaps Norway could also help out with a relocation center at Bouvet Island.

    Oct 01st, 2020 - 08:59 pm +1
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