Border Force Patrols Are Attracting More Migrants: Ex-Immigration Chief

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 increase in Border Force patrols in the English Channel is attracting more boat migrants, according to a former immigration chief.

More than 1,700 boat migrants have successfully reached British shores this year, compared with 297 from the previous year. The ex-head of immigration enforcement at the Home Office, David Wood, blamed the surge of migrants on the increase of Border Force patrols of the channel.

“Look at it from the migrants’ point of view — they are getting here. The more Border Force cutters there are in the Channel the more attractive it is for those setting sail in small boats. They know they will be picked up and taken to the UK. For them that is mission accomplished,” he told The Times.

Mr Wood recommended that the Border Force should take the migrants back to France instead of taking them to British shores. He claims that most migrants are coached on what to do and what to say when they are caught by Border Force, such as saying they are from “Iran or Afghanistan”, which ensures that they “will never get removed from the UK”.

“Individuals who reach the UK illegally should be in no doubt about our determination to return them to Europe as it is an established principle that those in need of protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach,” said a Home Office spokesman.

The warning comes as French coastguard picked up 31 migrants in two vessels in the English Channel and returned them to France on Sunday, while in the same day the British Home office revealed authorities had picked up 11 migrants and brought them to the English port-town of Dover for processing.  All three illegal crossings are the latest in a series of incidents in both French and British territorial waters.

On Boxing Day this week, Border Force brought 49 boat migrants ashore at Dover after being discovered on the English Channel in four separate boats. An additional 20 migrants were stopped by French authorities, reports Kent Online.

This Christmas occurrence mirrored an incident last year when 40 people attempted to cross the Channel on Christmas Day, which at the time was believed to be the largest number of migrants attempting the trip in one day.

After the Boxing Day crossing the MP for Dover, Natalie Elphicke, said that the migrants should be taken back to France instead of being brought ashore at Dover.

“The people traffickers operate their illegal trade every day of the year, including over the entire festive period from Christmas Day to New Year,” said Elphicke.

“Border force, the RNLI and HM Coastguard work tirelessly to save lives. But the truth is there should be an agreement between Britain and France that people who are found in the English Channel should be safely returned to France and not brought into Britain. That would be the best deterrent and the most effective way to bring this crisis to an end,” concluded the MP.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka

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