Migrants ‘Don’t Fear’ Deportation Due to ‘Low Risk’ of Return, Says Crime Chief

Demonstrators gather for a march calling for the British parliament to welcome refugees in

A National Crime Agency (NCA) chief has said that Iranian boat migrants are keen to be picked up by UK authorities after crossing the English Channel because they know there is a low chance of them being deported.

Director General of Operations Steve Rodhouse outlined to MPs at the Home Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday that some 500 migrant arrivals by boat from coastal Europe to Kent in the last year represents a “very different model compared to organised immigration crime.”

“Typically, in the past, if people have been using general maritime to make the journey, they will do so in a clandestine fashion,” Mr Rodhouse said, explaining that usually, “shore parties” greet the illegal aliens on arrival before transporting them to other parts of the country, evading entirely authorities and the immigration system.

“The business model is for the migrants to reach the point where they can engage with UK authorities whether it be on land or at sea and claim asylum at that point… that’s a different business model,” Mr Rodhouse said, noting that the “overwhelming majority claim Iranian citizenship and asylum in the UK.”

Mr Rodhouse alluded to the perception of the UK as being soft on asylum and expulsion as being a major pull factor for the migrants, saying, “One of the things that impacts on this business model… is that people are happy to be and are actively seeking to be caught or engaging with UK authorities because they don’t fear being returned and that is a significant player in the issue.”

“I think it is in the minds of the facilitators that there is a low risk of being returned,” Mr Rodhouse added.

Chief Constable of Kent Police Alan Pughsley QPM, also a witness at the crisis committee on boat migrants, added that in some cases, migrants are “phoning 999 from their boats and asking for help.”

The director general explained to the committee that of the 500 migrant landings by boat made in the last year, 80 percent of those journeys were made in the past three months, with 250 in December, prompting Home Secretary Sajid Javid to declare a “major incident.”

On Monday, 15 Iranian men were picked up in two boats in separate incidents off the Dover coast. Eleven of the men began asylum application procedures while the other four were arrested on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration.

On Sunday, a family of seven was picked up in the same area and last week a boat carrying 34 illegal aliens was intercepted, three of the men arrested for immigration offences.

Kent Chief Constable Alan Pughsley told the committee Tuesday that Border Force cutter HMC Seeker and the Coastal Patrol Vessel Speedwell had intercepted that morning a vessel carrying 13 illegals from the English Channel who were being processed by authorities “as we speak.”

The specialists told the committee that the recent good weather had facilitated the rush of arrivals, with the police, NCA, and coast guard expecting to see more illegals in the coming summer months.


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