The chaos in Calais looks only as if it is going to get worse rather than better. But should we be surprised?
Imagine for a moment that you are one of the illegal migrants camped out in Calais looking to get into the UK. You know that you are very likely to make it – Kent’s Chief Constable warned this week that up to 70 per cent of migrants are making it through to the UK. That’s some 900 or so in just one month.
So, you know that you have a very good chance of making it to Britain if you manage to smuggle yourself onto British soil.
But what then? Well, there will be those who of course get through undetected.
As for those who are caught? Well, just look at what happens currently with those who seek to claim asylum and are turned down.
Home Office figures up to 2013 show us that in the previous ten year period there were 240,000 main applicants, not including dependents. Of those, 83,000 were granted asylum or given some form of humanitarian protection.
Yet 141,000, almost 60 per cent, were refused. Out of that number, only 40,000 were removed by the government, a truly pitiful figure.
This strikes to the heart of the issue. Just what is the deterrent for those illegal migrants seeking to get into the UK? They know they have a good chance of making it in. They also know they have a chance of never been detected or found in the first place.
More than that though, the evidence shows us that even those deemed to be illegal migrants in Britain face good odds of never being removed.
Without that strong message that those who come to Britain illegally will be removed, what chance do we have of stopping many more hundreds and thousands from attempting to make the crossing into the UK over the weeks and months ahead?
Well done to Phil Woolas, former Labour Home Office Minister who has also said this week that illegal migrants wouldn’t try and come if they knew Britain wasn’t such a soft-touch. He is correct.
But we need more than just words, we need action, and the government’s approach on this has consisted of weak peddling and sticking plasters. Perhaps Mr. Cameron is being soft with the French in the hope of a few extra crumbs off the table in the EU renegotiation process, I don’t know.
Britain however urgently needs a tough new approach on illegal migrants that sends a clear message: that those who seek to enter our country illegally and make Britain their home will not be allowed to. If we do not start sending that message, the problem isn’t going away any time soon.