- The UK government has asked officials to explore sending asylum seekers to an island in the middle of the Atlantic.
- The British Home Secretary has considered setting up an asylum center on Ascension Island, a volcanic spur more than four thousand miles from the UK, according to a report.
- The idea was dropped after officials looked into its feasibility.
- The Labor Party said the idea was “inhumane, completely impractical and incredibly expensive”.
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According to a report, the UK government has been considering plans to send asylum seekers to a volcanic island nearly 400,000 miles from the UK in an effort to reduce the number of migrants arriving at Britain̵
Government officials told the Financial Times that Interior Minister Priti Patel had asked them to look into new ways to tackle illegal migration to the UK, including Australia’s offshore centers method of processing asylum claims.
Patel reportedly asked government officials to look into setting up an asylum center in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on Ascension Island, a thousand miles (1,600 kilometers) off the coast of Africa.
The island is a volcanic spur with a population of less than 1,000 people that are part of the British overseas territory of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. It was used by the UK as a staging post for the British Army during the Falklands War and now houses a Royal Air Force station.
Patel dropped the idea after the UK Foreign Office provided an assessment of sending asylum seekers to islands thousands of miles from Britain into the ocean, reports the Financial Times. It also asked officials to explore the possibility of setting up an asylum center on St. Helena, the territory’s main island, the report said.
The report suggests that Patel had urged officials to seek inspiration in other countries on how to tackle illegal migration to the UK. Australia, whose former Prime Minister Tony Abbott was recently named UK trade advisor, has been using offshore facilities since the 1980s.
A source familiar with the discussions told the Financial Times: “We looked at how other countries have dealt with this problem … We looked at everything. No decisions were made by ministers.”
An Interior Ministry official said: “As ministers have said, we are developing plans to reform policies and laws on illegal migration and asylum to ensure that we are able to provide protection to those who need it. preventing the abuse of the system and the crime associated with it. “
Nick Thomas-Symonds, shadow interior minister of the opposition Labor Party, said sending asylum seekers to Ascension Island was “ridiculous”. tweeting: “This ridiculous idea is inhumane, completely impractical and incredibly expensive. So it seems entirely plausible that this Tory government invented it.”
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