Illegal migrants found stowed away in lorries are frequently told to make their own way to a processing centre more than 50 miles away, the general secretary of the Immigration Services Union has revealed.
Lucy Moreton also admitted authorities “have no way of knowing” the identities of individuals entering the UK in an interview that laid bare the laxity of Britain’s border controls — which have produced a system in which would-be migrants know that if they get in, they’ll be allowed to stay.
Ms Moreton told BBC Essex: “The sad fact is there simply aren’t enough staff to attend every single lorry drop because there really are quite a number of them.
“Sometimes it’s simply isn’t possible to reach them, if it’s thought to be low risk, if there are no obvious needs, if there’s nobody injured or there’s no children involved.
“Then unfortunately there can be times when the police are asked just to signpost them to Croydon and ask them to go there to obtain the documents they need to access benefits and the like in the UK.”
Noting that the journey from Essex to Croydon is far from straightforward, presenter Sadie Nine said that even many people who are local to the area “would find it difficult to get to Croydon”.
“It’s not always possible for individuals to get to Croydon”, Ms Moreton conceded, and admitted that no statistics are kept on the percentage of stowaways who actually make it to the processing centre in south London.
The union boss also revealed that it’s “really rare” for stowaways to have any identification documents, telling BBC Essex that authorities have no way of knowing who migrants entering the country illegally are.
“It’s very common for people to say that they are from a country which it’s known you are likely to get asylum, particularly if you come from a country where you’re not”
“We just have to take it on trust that they are who they say they are,” she added.
Shocked by the effective lack of any real checks of migrants entering Britain illegally, Ms Nine said it’s “no wonder” so many migrants crowded into Calais, wanting to take their chances on breaking into the UK.
“We’re saying to human traffickers if you get them over here, we will keep them,” she added.
Agreeing with the BBC presenter that the shortcomings in the system make Britain a gift to criminal traffickers, Ms Moreton said: “If they can get on the back of a lorry and get to the UK then they are likely to be able to stay, at least for a short period of time.”
There are some situations in which union boss outlined some situations in which illegals can be removed, such as if migrants are already registered in another European Union (EU) nation’s asylum system.
A report last year by the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration said authorities were being overwhelmed by the problem of stowaway migrants.
Before being shut down by police in October 2016, scenes of violence regularly played out at Calais’ infamous ‘Jungle’ camp as migrants acted recklessly in their quest to reach the UK.
One night in August last year, in which a truck driver was threatened by a chainsaw-wielding illegal immigrant, the northern French town saw “rioting” migrants drag debris onto the motorway leading to the port and set fire to it in a bid to slow lorries down enough to smash their way inside.