A Border Force vessel brings in migrants found off the coast of Dover, Kent, Britain, 19 August 2020. | Photo: EPA/ANDY RAIN
A Border Force vessel brings in migrants found off the coast of Dover, Kent, Britain, 19 August 2020. | Photo: EPA/ANDY RAIN

Ministerial sources cited by the BBC and the Financial Times revealed that the British government took into consideration the idea of using an island in the Atlantic Ocean as a possible destination for a gathering and filtering center for asylum seekers awaiting a response from the United Kingdom.

British Interior Minister Priti Patel recently considered using a remote British territory in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean as a possible destination for a gathering and filtering centre for asylum seekers awaiting a response from the United Kingdom, the Financial Times (FT) reported, citing a source in the ministry also cited by the BBC.

Patel, a super hawk in the Tory government of Boris Johnson, considered the option as part of a promised tightening on immigration and amidst new alarm in recent months over the increase in arrivals crossing the English Channel.

The Atlantic island of Ascension

The idea considered, on which no decision has been reportedly made, seems to be that of creating a mega hotspot on the Atlantic Ocean island of Ascension, located between the coasts of central-western Africa and Brazil, about 6,000 kilometers from the UK.

FT reported that the Home Office turned to the Foreign Office for an evaluation on the idea. A source from Patel's staff refused to confirm or deny the reports, and confirmed only that the government is examining "every option that could stop the flow of small illegal boats and regularizing the asylum system."

London, 'ensure protection but prevent abuse of system'

"The UK has a long and proud history of offering refuge to those who need protection," the source said.

"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."

 

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