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The imperative of preventing illegal migration is emphasized in a recent statement, asserting that allowing such migration is neither reasonable nor generous. The risks to lives, undermining of border security, and undue pressures on public services and communities are cited as the reasons behind the commitment to ensure that the government, not smuggling gangs, decides who enters the UK and to halt the flow of small boats crossing the Channel.

The outlined plan is described as effective, with small boat arrivals decreasing by 36% year on year, in contrast to an 80% increase in sea crossings across mainland Europe. This progress is attributed to sustained efforts over the past year, including the clearing of a backlog of 112,000 cases, identifying those with no right to stay, and repurposing 50 asylum hotels for community use.

The strategy emphasizes efficiency without compromising security, with a lower grant rate for asylum last year compared to previous years. Additional resources, such as 1,200 more asylum caseworkers, have been deployed to expedite case processing.

Despite the achievements, the statement underscores the need for further action. A forthcoming Rwanda Bill is highlighted as a key measure to designate Rwanda as a safe country, aiming to prevent spurious human rights claims that hinder the removal and resettlement process.

The overarching goal is to break the smugglers’ business model by making it clear that illegal entry into the UK will result in swift removal to a safe third country. The statement contrasts this approach with opposition proposals, asserting the commitment to border control and dispelling suggestions of relinquishing control to the European Union.

As the UK enters 2024, the commitment is reiterated to combat people traffickers, deter opportunists, and advance initiatives like the Rwanda Bill. The message concludes with a promise to work tirelessly to halt illegal migration, emphasizing the government’s dedication to the cause.

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