What Do The Public Think About Illegal Channel Crossings?

55% of the public, including 77% of voters who backed the Tories at the last election, believe the Government’s approach to managing Channel crossings is “too soft”, according to a Redfield and Wilton Strategies poll published in late November 2021 (see report here).

  • Migration was also the performance area in which Mr Johnson received the worst negative ratings from voters, with 54 per cent disapproving and just 21 per cent approving.
  • Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, also faces pressure over her role in combating the crisis, with 53 per cent disapproving of her performance in tackling Channel crossings and just 19 per cent approving.

The news comes as November 2021 saw the highest number of monthly illegal crossings ever – with more than 5,000 people having successfully broken into the UK via boat (eight times the total for November 2020) – see our Tracker. Over 24,000 have come this year and 35,000 since the start of 2018, when crossings started spiking.

A YouGov poll published in June 2021 also made clear that the public are opposed the scandal of illegal crossings from safe countries and want more action taken to stop them. 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 it is fair to remove people who come here from safe countries when they could have claimed asylum there – including some 86% of Conservative voters. Only 15% of the general public think doing so is unfair.
  • 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% said that those crossing should not be allowed to settle in the UK (see media report).
  • Over 60% also said those arriving illegally in this manner should be removed (Ipsos, Autumn 2019). 60% also said they thought that the government was not taking sufficient measures to stop the problem (2020 Deltapoll – see summary).

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 - Asylum, Enforcement, Legal Matters, Migration Trends, Policy

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