Lessons from Calais


August 13, 2015

The most effective way to tackle the crisis in Calais is to tackle the motivation of the migrants who seem so determined to get across the channel. That is the conclusion of a report issued by Migrationwatch today.

The report concludes that the main motivation to cross the channel is not to seek asylum (France is a safe country) but the ambition to work illegally in Britain and send money home. Furthermore, these migrants calculate, correctly, that they are very unlikely to be deported to their home countries. The report traces the decline in the credibility in the UK immigration system over the past twenty years and calls for early action to reverse the perception that, once across the channel, these migrants are home and dry.

Specifically, the report calls for:

  1. A full search of trucks arriving in Dover.
  2. Contingency planning for military aid to the civil authorities.
  3. Detention in additional detention centres nearby for those migrants discovered in Dover.
  4. A “one stop shop” to consider asylum claims and deport those whose claims fail.
  5. The use of the UK’s aid programme as a carrot and stick to negotiate return agreements with source countries.
  6. A doubling of expenditure on enforcement over the next three years.
  7. An expansion of the immigration detention estate.
  8. In the longer term, the introduction of ID cards in the UK.

Commenting, Lord Green of Deddington, Chairman of Migration Watch, said: “Some of those in Calais may well have a case for asylum but they should be claiming in France which is, of course, a safe country. The real issue is about others who believe that, once they have crossed the Channel, they will be able to work illegally and send money home with very little risk of deportation. More security measures in France will not be sufficient. We need to change the perception that Britain is a “soft touch”. That means arresting, detaining and, where possible, deporting those who have entered our country illegally. The Foreign Secretary is right when he says this should be our ‘number one priority’ but we need thorough searches in Dover to achieve it.

Read the full briefing paper here



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