Report: Just Six Per Cent of Illegal Channel Migrants Have Been Deported

DOVER, ENGLAND - APRIL 04: An inflatable rib lies in the surf near Samphire Hoe on April 4, 2019 in Dover, England. Two separate incidents of migrants coming ashore have been reported along the Kent coast near Folkestone this morning. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The Conservative government has deported just six per cent of illegals who crossed the English Channel since December.

More than nine months since a surge in illegal crossings, Sky News found that very few of the migrants have been returned to France. While the government reportedly would not confirm how many illegals crossed on small boats since December 2018, the broadcaster has collated data, arriving at the number 1,456.

The broadcaster said the Home Office confirmed just “over 85” were returned — around six per cent, or one in 17.

Media reported in the past several months that most are claiming to be from Iran and are seeking asylum in the UK. EU asylum rules dictate that asylum seekers must register for asylum in the first safe country of landing. Given that France is a safe country, all those crossing the Channel are not refugees but illegal aliens and should be deported back to France.

The spike in arrivals began in December, with 40 illegals crossing the English Channel on Christmas day in five vessels, the highest number of interceptions to date. With landings continuing on every subsequent day, then-Home Secretary Sajid Javid declared the migrant crossings a “major incident”. Mr Javid said that talks with his French counterpart would take place to ensure mutual efforts to stop illegal migration.

In 2003, the UK and France signed the Le Touquet accord which would stop illegals on the shores and ports of France before they try to cross the Channel to England. While French progressives and leftists have threatened to tear up the agreement post-Brexit, it is in France’s best interest to maintain Le Touquet to prevent the country being turned into a transit state for migrants, as the Balkans had been during the 2015 migrant crisis.

In January 2019, the Home Office decided to increase the number of Border Force cutters in the water. Authorities made the decision despite warnings from former Home Office official David Wood that illegals and smugglers would use vessels as a “taxi service”.

“As far as organised crime is concerned, it’s de-risked their business. They know they don’t have to get right across the Channel and land, they can get halfway across and the migrants will be taken the rest of the way,” Mr Wood had said.

National Crime Agency (NCA) chief Steve Rodhouse told MPs in February that illegals do not fear deportation because they view the UK as a soft touch.

“One of the things that impacts on this business model [of people smuggling]… 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,” Mr Rodhouse said.

Landings also occurred throughout the warmer months, with Conservative MP for Dover Charlie Elphicke warning that the “crisis now threatens to turn into a Summer of chaos on the Channel”.

In early June, the coastguard responded to a “record number” of 13 incidents in one day, with the coastal MP criticising the Home Office for failing to “get a grip on this crisis” that had begun six months before.

In August, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that migrants would be returned to France after coming across the Channel illegally.

“The UK should not be regarded as a place where you could automatically come and break the law by seeking to arrive illegally,” Prime Minister Johnson said.

The Home Office told Sky News that while asylum seekers should seek refugee status in the first safe country of landing, the UK has an “obligation to give all claims fair consideration”.

The spokesman said: “We are working closely at all levels with the French authorities to tackle this dangerous illegal activity.

“Where possible, we work with European countries to return eligible asylum seekers. However, we have an obligation to give all claims fair consideration, and not all cases are straightforward.”

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