Nearly 1,600 people have illegally crossed the Channel since the start of the late May Bank Holiday weekend (see our Channel Tracking Station). On Saturday, a Border Force vessel entered French waters to pick up migrants and take them to Dover. On Tuesday, a further 179 in six dinghies were escorted by Border Force into our waters. Meanwhile, Lucy Moreton, head of the Immigration Service Union, spoke to The Times warning that her members were reporting that up to ten people a day crossing the Channel illegally could be infected with Covid. The Home Office have denied this saying there were no positive cases in May or so far this month. Really? And as the country awaits a government decision on whether restrictions will continue beyond 21 June, how bizarre that our Border Force and those directing it go soft on controlling who comes here. All we seem to get is tough talk and zilch action. As Patrick O’Flynn writes in the Spectator this week, the government can no longer use spin and tough rhetoric to distract the British public from the chaos in the Channel. . Apparently, even the PM is losing patience and reportedly asked the Home Office, ‘What the **** are you doing about it?’ Actually, we can tell him, ‘**** all, Prime Minister.’
Blog of the week
Illegal Channel crossings are running at over two and half times the rate of last year. If this rate continues, we could see over 22,000 arrivals by the end of the year (last year it was 8,700 and 1,835 in 2019). No doubt this and government failures at the border, in the Channel and immigration generally, lay behind the latest YouGov tracking poll results, which showed immigration/asylum moved back up the list of issues of concern. It is now third equal after health and the economy, on level pegging with the environment. Another YouGov poll showed that 60% of British people think illegal Channel migrants should be banned from claiming asylum, while 56% said it is fair not to grant settlement to those who are ineligible for asylum but cannot be removed. The numbers are much higher for Conservative voters. The message to the government is clear: people are gradually coming to the conclusion that they were sold a pup, if not totally conned, on immigration. Tens of millions see border control as crucial and want immigration to be reduced. Read our new blog on this.
Migration Watch in the media
Our Chairman Alp Mehmet had a busy week in the press. See below for his comments.
‘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.’
‘The asylum system is an utter shambles and little short of a national disgrace. The traffickers are laughing all the way to their secret bank accounts while the taxpayer foots the gargantuan bill.’
And a reaction to another worrying story from this week:
‘Even if we were to give the government the benefit of the doubt and allow that lockdown made enforcement difficult, the fact is enforcement raids were declining long before Covid struck. Enforcement has been crumbling since the weaponisation (largely by the Labour Party) of the Windrush debacle. Any political will and determination there might have been evaporated long ago.’
Make your voice heard
The Channel crisis is of course only one part of the complex immigration and asylum jigsaw. The (almost) six-month old immigration system has lowered key thresholds on skills and qualifications and has removed the cap on yearly work permits for foreign jobseekers. Companies no longer have an obligation to give priority to UK workers for new jobs. Meanwhile, a host of other routes have been introduced – including an uncapped avenue for overseas students to work in the lowest-paid jobs.
Brexit provided the ideal opportunity for the right sort of immigration system. We were told we would get it, we most certainly have not. What we have done is opened up British jobs to an estimated pool of some 600 million workers from around the globe. What is more, we have reverted to something not far short of free movement for EU nationals. What a con. And how thoroughly undemocratic. ‘Take back control’ was not just a nice idea, it was about reducing immigration, not increasing it. Please write to your MP here and make your views known. .