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A barge meant to hold 500 illegal immigrants arrived in the port of Portland, England, to protesters who said their town is not only too small to take part in the experiment, but the townspeople weren't consulted either.
The floating housing unit, named the Bibby Stockholm, is a metal barge meant to house up to 500 of what English outlets are referring to as "asylum seekers." It is meant to help relieve the country of its daily $7.7 million hotel bill for its illegal immigrants, according to Sky News.
The barge hit English shores in May 2023 after arriving from Italy, the Independent reported, citing that its use was intended for "single adult males" only. It contains accommodation like twin rooms , wi-fi, a canteen, and health care facilities.
"For every bed that's occupied on the Bibby the council is being given [$4,500] by the Home Office," Sky News reporter Dan Whitehead claimed. "The government is also making a one-off payment of [$485,000] to help with things like activities and English speaking lessons," he added.
Protesters held signs that read "No to the barge" and "No floating prison" as residents had differing reasons to reject the floating housing. While some opposed it on humanitarian grounds, others stated they didn't like that the town hadn't been consulted.
"There was zero consultation with our council, the police, the NHS, all of which they opposed it," said Kate Robson, from the group No to the Barge. "The Home Office and Portland Port have completely railroaded the community."
"It will clearly be extremely cramped," argued Lynne Hubbard of Stand Up to Racism. "And what we have to remember is the refugees will have already been through very traumatic experiences."
The barge will remain docked for at least 18 months and will house asylum-seekers who entered the country by crossing the English Channel on small boats, according to the New York Times.
Recent changes to English law have made attempts to restrict the influx of illegal aliens into the country. The Illegal Migration Bill, passed on July 17, 2023, declared that those who arrive in Britain on small boats are to be detained and sent to Rwanda or to a different "safe" country.
"The money that the government is willing to shell out on 'asylum seekers' along with billions of aid to Ukraine is a slap in the face to the British people," said Lewis Brackpool, co-founder of U.K. outlet Grit News. "The widely held view in Britain about immigration is changing and not in the way the BBC and other mainstream outlets want you to believe," he added.
With a reported 51,000 migrants placed in hotels, the British government allegedly has planned to enlist two additional barges, but their locations have not been announced.
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