We Can Solve Illegal Channel Crossings


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The number of people who have crossed the Channel in 2021 hit 5000 this week. That is more than two-and-a-half times the number who crossed this time last year. If it continues at the current rate, we can expect well over 20,000 coming illegally across the Channel by the end of the year. Sadly, there will also be more lives lost. Who could fail to be moved by the report of the toddler whose body was found off the coast of Norway this week? What puzzles me is why people leave safe countries like France, risking the lives of their children. We want to help people most in need, but it must be done by the law, and not on the terms of people smugglers who are indifferent to human suffering.

As with so much regarding the issue of illegal immigration, there is a clear way of tackling it. In this case, it is to make sure that anyone who comes here illegally is promptly returned. ‘Breaking the business model’ of human traffickers is entirely possible. It will, of course, require political will and determination. Otherwise, illegal Channel crossings will become ever more frequent.

Blog of the week

Sending illegal migrants back is the only way to deter people-traffickersThe number of people who have crossed the Channel in 2021 hit 5000 this week. That is more than two-and-a-half times the number who crossed this time last year. If it continues at the current rate, we can expect well over 20,000 coming illegally across the Channel by the end of the year. Sadly, there will also be more lives lost. Who could fail to be moved by the report of the toddler whose body was found off the coast of Norway this week? What puzzles me is why people leave safe countries like France, risking the lives of their children. We want to help people most in need, but it must be done by the law, and not on the terms of people smugglers who are indifferent to human suffering.

As with so much regarding the issue of illegal immigration, there is a clear way of tackling it. In this case, it is to make sure that anyone who comes here illegally is promptly returned. ‘Breaking the business model’ of human traffickers is entirely possible. It will, of course, require political will and determination. Otherwise, illegal Channel crossings will become ever more frequent.
 BLOG OF THE WEEKNo removals of illegal Channel migrants this year

You might like to know that there were zero returns of illegal Channel immigrants to safe European countries in the first quarter of the year. This after Boris Johnson pledged that ‘we will send you back’ if you come illegally. And the failure cannot be blamed on the pandemic alone. As for the wider metric of returns of failed asylum claimants, 1,500 people departed in 2020, compared with over seven times this number returned in 2010. So the trend of weakening enforcement was already well under way before the pandemic. Since January we have been fed a constant diet of tough rhetoric and little follow-through. Press releases and speeches and political fanfare only go so far. It’s time for effective action. Read our full blog on this here.

Migration Watch in the media

It’s been another busy week in the media for our Chairman Alp Mehmet. See below for his comments.

Talk Radio: Over 5,000 illegal immigrants have crossed the Channel in small boats this year

‘If it continues at this rate we are going to have well over 20,000 people crossing illegally into this country by the end of the year.’

The Sun: Over 5,000 migrants have made the perilous journey across Channel this year

‘It seems the Home Office are powerless to do anything about [this scandal]. This should concern us all.’

And another reaction to a shocking story this week:

Mail Online: Iranian man, 21, who tried to smuggle Iraqi migrants into UK hidden inside SOFAS and armchairs is jailed for nearly three years

‘If anyone is in any doubt about the disgusting nature of the criminal operations that facilitate illegal crossings into this country, this report will enlighten them. Surely we have our priorities completely skewed if it is deemed compassionate and caring to prop up the business model of monstrous crooks like this.’

Make your voice heard

The surge in Channel crossings speaks to a bigger problem of enforcement of our borders. A fair and secure border system is what most voters want from their political leaders, and yet we continue to witness the systematic weakening of our borders.

Some governments have been open about their desire to expand recruitment from abroad, but Mr Johnson’s government has introduced a system that severely weakened our global visa rules which govern how many and who can come here to work. While repeatedly telling us of their aim of strengthening our borders, their actions and policies tell a different story. If you are dismayed by this massive gap between rhetoric and reality, please write to your MP and make your views known.

21st June 2021

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