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Ireland to deport UK-entered asylum seekers amid influx and Rwanda policy concerns

Sunday April 28, 2024

Dozens of asylum-seekers are camping on Grattan Street in Dublin. Caolan Magee/CNN

London (HOL) —In response to a significant influx of Somali asylum seekers and broader migration challenges via the UK, the Irish government is preparing to introduce emergency legislation aimed at deporting those who have entered the UK before their arrival in Ireland. This comes amid concerns that British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's Rwanda deportation plan is prompting asylum seekers to reroute to Ireland.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee reported that a staggering eighty percent of the recent arrivals had moved through the UK-Ireland border. To address this situation, McEntee has been directed to propose new legislation that would facilitate the return of inadmissible international protection applicants to the UK.

The planned legislation aligns with the government's broader strategy to strengthen its immigration system. "Ireland has a rules-based system that must always be applied firmly and fairly," stated a spokesperson for Taoiseach Harris. 

UK Prime Minister Sunak's recently enacted policy to relocate asylum seekers to Rwanda has had a direct impact on Ireland, sparking a surge in migration towards the country. Many are seeking to avoid the potential of deportation to Rwanda, leading to Deputy Prime Minister Micheál Martin highlighting the growing fears among migrants and asserting that the policy impacts Ireland, as individuals seek refuge within the EU's borders.

The issue of immigration and the treatment of refugees has become particularly poignant in Ireland, where a housing crisis has escalated tensions and fueled anti-immigrant sentiment. This crisis was illustrated last November when a riot erupted in central Dublin and, more recently, in County Wicklow, where a protest over refugee accommodations led to clashes with police.

Amid these social strains, Ireland has continued to welcome refugees, with more than 100,000 taken in recently, the majority from Ukraine. However, the increasing pressure on resources and public services has intensified the debate over Ireland's capacity and willingness to accommodate new arrivals.
Sulaiman Mohamed Abdullahi, a human rights activist and the leader of the Horn of Africa Peoples Aid of Northern Ireland, has raised concerns about Ireland's growing number of asylum seekers. He suggested that upcoming legislation could tighten border security and prevent asylum seekers from entering Ireland via the UK.

Abdullahi also stated that, despite these measures, the influx of people looking for better lives is expected to continue.   He also said that, while Ireland is a member of the European Union, changing EU-wide immigration laws could be a lengthy process. If asylum seekers are denied asylum in Ireland, they may seek recourse through the European Union courts.


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