Home Secretary Sajid Javid has buckled to political pressure and will send more border force cutters to the English Channel, despite critics warning the boats will act as “magnets” to illegal aliens and increase the number of crossings.
Mr Javid announced Monday that two more cutters currently deployed in the Mediterranean will join HMC Searcher to patrol the English Channel after at least 139 migrants successfully landed on Kent’s coasts or were picked up in UK territorial waters over the Christmas break, reports The Telegraph.
The u-turn comes after warnings that increasing a UK presence in the border waters will act as a “magnet” for migrants and is believed to have come following pressure from fellow Tory MPs, with Mr Javid saying that while he has “a duty to protect the UK border,” he also has “a duty to protect human life.”
Tory MP Charlie Elphicke, whose constituency is the Kent port town of Dover which has seen the majority of illegal arrivals, said he was “delighted” by the decision, saying, “The best deterrent is for migrants to be returned safely to France. Once the migrants and traffickers know there is no hope of getting to Britain, they will stop trying to come here in the first place.”
However, immediate return is not a given and Mr Javid confirmed that migrants picked up in the British half of the Channel would be transported to the UK to have their asylum claims heard, the Daily Mail reports.
A Dozen Migrants Land on English Beach as Top Officials Discuss Channel Crisis https://t.co/hGpEpJqdne
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 1, 2019
The home secretary added that he would be looking into whether the UK can deny asylum to illegals who travelled from safe countries, including France, and will be working with French authorities to attempt to stop the crossings which have increased over the past two months.
Writing in The Telegraph, former director-general of immigration enforcement at the Home Office David Wood said more cutters could “attract more crossings” as “the migrants know they can rely on being rescued, with the authorities providing a taxi service to the UK,” adding that deploying more boats will be counter-productive unless agreements are made with the French to return the migrants to France.
Warning that a number of migrants will “disappear” rather than follow the asylum process through once arriving in the UK, he pointed out that “whether successful or not in their application, they are very unlikely to be deported” as Tehran notoriously refuses to document their own citizens for repatriations.
“Furthermore, the majority of migrants attempting to cross the Channel will not be fleeing persecution or war.
“They will have paid substantial sums to make the crossing and are more likely to be economic migrants seeking a better life for themselves and their families.
Ex-Immigration Chief: Channel Migrants Using Border Force, Coastguard as ‘Taxi Service’ https://t.co/i4p2CvHOHE
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 31, 2018
“The organised crime groups will tell the migrants how to answer questions to evade deportation,” Mr Wood said.
The vast majority of the migrants are male and claim to be from Iran, the spike in arrivals from that region believed to be because Iranians are wealthier than the Eritrean or Afghan migrants waiting in France to break into Britain and can afford the more than £5,000 smuggler’s fee.
In addition, a recently closed visa programme in Serbia, which relaxed immigration rules for Iranians on 2017, allegedly resulted in thousands of the Middle Easterners exiting the Balkan nation to illegally enter nearby EU member states with the intention of travelling to wealthier Western European nations to claim asylum.
However, Mr Wood warns that many of the migrants may be lying about being Iranian, to increase the perceived difficulty in ejecting them from Britain, many of whom will have destroyed their identity documents.