What Do The Public Think About Illegal Channel Crossings?

Asylum, Enforcement, Legal Matters, Migration Trends, Policy

A YouGov poll published in June 2021 made clear that the public are opposed the scandal of illegal crossings from safe countries. It revealed:

  • 60% of the public think that illegal migrants should be banned from claiming asylum, compared to around a fifth who think the opposite.
  • 64% of people think that removing people deemed inadmissible as asylum seekers in the UK into the asylum system of another safe country is fair – including some 86% of Conservative voters. Only 15% of the general public think doing so is unfair.
  • 56% of the public, and 80% of Conservatives, also think it’s fair that those who are ineligible for asylum but who also cannot be legally removed will not be granted the right to settle in the UK, and will be reassessed for return to the country of origin or a safe third country (see polling summary and full polling results).

A previous poll showed that over 70% of the public say illegal Channel crossings are a ‘serious problem’ – including 97% of Conservative voters (YouGov, August 2020) – and 63% say those crossing should not be allowed to settle in the UK (see media report).

Over 60% also say those arriving illegally in this manner should be removed (Ipsos, Autumn 2019). 60% also say they think the government is not taking sufficient measures to stop the problem (2020 Deltapoll – see summary).

The government’s failure to stop this may help explain why the share of the public saying the government is handling immigration badly has hit a seven month-high, hitting two-thirds (67%) in early June 2021, having risen by 23 percentage points since March 2020 (YouGov).

What do the government’s ‘supporters’ have to say about the issue? A poll conducted by Conservative Progress of more than 10,000 Conservative voters showed that 93% percent believed those who entered the UK illegally should not be allowed to apply for asylum (see media report).

Why aren’t more illegal Channel migrants and failed asylum seekers removed from the country? For analysis of this topic, see separate piece. Also make sure you regularly visit our Channel Tracking Station for full coverage of this unfolding scandal.

Read more about this topic in our briefing paper on illegal channel crossings (8 May 2020), which was covered in The Times, the Daily Telegraph and Mail Online.

Our Chairman, Alp Mehmet, was recently quoted in the Daily Telegraph saying: “The absence of returns of those who have come here illegally from safe countries since the start of the year underlines the Government’s failure to regain the control of our borders that they promised. Dover has become the gateway to the UK for illegal entrants. On immigration control, the public were clearly sold a pup.”

10th June 2021

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