January 04, 2019
The Government’s response to the recent surge in clandestine Channel crossings has been thoroughly inadequate.
We recommend the following steps to tackle the situation:
Former senior Home Office officials have estimated that there are already more than a million illegal immigrants in the UK, while Migration Watch UK has estimated that the illegal immigrant population is likely to be increasing by at least 70,000 each year. Of these, around 8,500 per year are failed asylum seekers who refuse to leave the country.
The Home Secretary is of course right to point out that France is a safe country yet one reason that a significant number of migrants are keen to travel from France to the UK clandestinely is that they know they are very unlikely to be sent back.
The failure to remove those who no longer have any right to be here is partly due to the suspension of the previous Detained Fast Track as a result of court rulings. Fast-tracked cases could be completed within 12 working days from the initial decision until the conclusion of their First-tier Tribunal appeal. A Parliamentary Question in July 2018 revealed that the Tribunal Procedure Committee is holding a consultation before making a decision on whether to introduce a new form of this policy. Action on the matter is urgent.
Attempts to address this issue are not helped by the fact that funding for immigration enforcement in the UK has been cut by more than £32 million, from £463.5 million, over the past three years.
Iran, from where a significant number of recent clandestine arrivals have originated, will not normally allow people to return unless they have a passport. This is a serious problem given that many clandestine arrivals and false asylum claimants destroy their documentation in a bid to frustrate the removals process.
So any Iranian who reaches our coast can be almost certain that he or she will be able to stay, with very little likelihood of removal even if the asylum claim is false. This risks becoming a pull factor for more attempts to cross the Channel.
Commenting, Alp Mehmet, Vice Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said:
We need less theatre and more action, including on the legal framework, to deter illegal immigration which over three-quarters of the public see as a serious problem facing the country.