Queen Elizabeth Returns to Royal Duties Amid Controversy Surrounding UK's New Immigration Plan

By: Prateek Sachdeva
15 May 2021 1:44:20 PM CSMC, Chitkara University, Punjab

Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday carried out her first major engagement since the funeral of her husband Prince Philip. The Queen opened a new session of Parliament and read-aloud UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's priorities, in a ceremonial event that until a few years ago she had routinely attended with Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, reported CNN


In a ten-minute speech in the House of Lords, she highlighted 30 laws that the Conservative Party intends on passing in the upcoming year. The speech highlighted priorities of the Boris government, from Post-Brexit changes to Health Care, and Security. The speech also highlighted the controversial Police, Crime and Sentencing bill, and a new bill on "immigration and refusal to give asylum to a refugee who has travelled from a “safe country”.


“Measures will be brought forward to establish a fairer immigration system that strengthens the United Kingdom’s borders and deters criminals who facilitate dangerous and illegal journeys,” The Queen said, referring to the New Plan for Immigration Legislation proposed by Home Secretary Priti Patel.


It comes after Rossella Pagliuchi-Lor, UNHCR representative to the UK, told The Observer that the UK’s plans threatened the integrity of the UN refugee convention—which the UK government helped write in 1951— and which seeks to protect individuals fleeing persecution or catastrophe.


In 2019 UK asylum applications increased by 21 per cent on the previous year to almost 36,000, the highest number since 2016 – though they dropped by 18 per cent in 2020. In 2019 around half of the asylum seekers arrived via unauthorised routes, The Independent reports.


The chief executive of the Refugee Council, Enver Solomon, said the plans “undermined” the UK’s “vital commitment” to protecting those in need by “unjustly differentiating” between refugees based on how they arrive. “This is a cruel and unfair approach that slams the door in the face of people who could be in urgent need of our protection,” said Solomon. 

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