Politics and policy

British MPs want asylum seekers’ camp set up in Kenya

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 British Prime Minister David Cameron. AFP

British Prime Minister David Cameron. The PM called for introduction of stringent measures to curb easy granting of citizenship to foreigners. AFP 

By JAMES KARIUKI

Posted  Wednesday, April 17  2013 at  19:36

In Summary

  • British MPs want immigrants shipped to ‘safe houses’ in Kenya and upkeep paid by the UK government.
  • They say population growth is putting a strain on UK infrastructure which ends up benefiting ‘immigrants’ at the expense of British citizens.
  • The planned asylum camps are aimed at reducing the cost of handling people held within the UK.

The UK could confine asylum seekers in leased houses in Kenya if a proposal by Conservative Party MPs aimed at reducing illegal immigrants is approved.

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Unlike today when most immigrants are housed in secure locations inside Britain, this could change with immigrants shipped to ‘safe houses’ in Kenya and upkeep paid by the UK government as cases are processed.

Kenya hosts hundreds of thousands of refugees and it remains to be seen whether the new government would approve the move. The country also hosts 10,000 UK soldiers for training annually.

A group of Conservative MPs has forwarded the proposal to have Britain pay Kenya and other countries to host the immigrants from various countries in “processing camps.”

The plan, contained in a report by the Conservative Way Forward group and authored by Tory MP Julian Brazier, says population growth is putting a strain on UK infrastructure which they claim ends up benefiting ‘immigrants’ at the expense of British citizens.

“Overcrowding in turn holds back economic growth, reduces quality of life and puts heavy pressure on government spending,” The Sun reported the Tory MP saying.

Last month, British Prime Minister David Cameron called for introduction of stringent measures to curb “easy” granting of citizenship to foreigners, saying immigrants must be made to pay a premium on all services enjoyed by British citizens.

The Conservative Party, in a ruling coalition with Liberal Democrats, has increasingly appealed to voters’ anti-immigration sentiment since Lynton Crosby was put back in charge of the Tory election campaign.

The Australian strategist is referred to as the Wizard of Oz in the British press after he helped former Liberal Prime Minister John Howard to win four terms.

Australian government has a similar scheme, which sends boatloads of arrivals to the Pacific island of Nauru or Manus Island in Papua New Guinea to be warehoused in camps as their asylum bids are processed.

The immigrants’ problem has been fuelled by UK’s membership of the European Union which has seen EU immigrants from low-income countries such as Romania flood the UK. Britons have in turn protested saying their housing crisis could reach alarming levels if immigrants are accorded similar rights.

The planned asylum camps are aimed at reducing the cost of handling people held within the country.

Julian’s report urged UK ministers to urgently set up offshore “processing centres” to house the immigrants with the Tory MPs identifying Kenya as a likely destination.

Some immigrants have described their home countries as “worse-than-hell” and live in poor conditions in the UK.

In their report, the Conservative Way Forward Group says: “Overcrowding holds back economic growth, reduces quality of life and puts heavy pressure on government spending.”