UK looks to slow record number of migrants reaching England

On Saturday, more groups of people, some wrapped in blankets or carrying youngsters, landed

The British Government is ordering a review of how it tackles migrant crossings after a rise in attempts that has seen record numbers reaching England.

The aim will be to reduce the number of sailings from France which has soared in 2021 after a relatively quiet 2020.

So far, the government has tried to portray Britain as a place the migrants do not want to reach, in part because they are already safe in France and partly because the English Channel crossing is extremely dangerous.

But for migrants who have trekked across continents to be there, the attraction remains a tempting lure. For many, the dream destination is the UK rather than France or other places inside the European Union.

Since the start of the year, the migrant tally has passed 24,000 people, nearly three times the number recorded last year when 8,420 people arrived on UK shores.

On Saturday, more groups of people, some wrapped in blankets or carrying youngsters, arrived in Kent.

Cabinet Office minister Stephen Barclay has been ordered to lead the effort by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has also promised tougher action to stem the flow across the English Channel, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, by migrant groups sailing on small boats, Jet skis and rafts.

“Boris is exasperated. He sees this as one of his biggest priorities and he’s concerned that after two years there are still no viable solutions,” The Times reported, quoting a senior government source.

“He’s told ministers to redouble efforts to fix this, no matter how difficult it is. If it looks bad now, it’s going to look much worse in spring when it’s warmer.”

Kevin Saunders, former chief immigration officer for UK Border Force, said that people who arrive in the UK crossing the Channel should be processed offshore.

“The most effective way would be to take all the people who have arrived in the UK to an offshore processing centre and deal with it offshore,” he said.

“That is the only way you will stop people from coming into the UK. We've seen trying to do it with the French on land, on the Channel, nothing works.”

Asked why it had to be offshore, he said: “People will still come to the UK, because they know we are not going to be able to remove them from the United Kingdom when their asylum claim fails.”

He said only a small number of people had been removed this year and described the UK as “just too attractive” for people. “They (migrants) know that once they're in the UK they've won the jackpot.”

Updated: November 21st 2021, 3:49 AM
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