Some 550 illegal boat migrants have reached British shores from France during the period in which the two countries introduced national lockdown measures to stem the spread of the Chinese coronavirus.
Data released from the Home Office revealed that at least 481 migrants illegally crossed the English Channel since the start of the British lockdown and an additional 69 people were brought ashore the week prior, despite France having already announced lockdown restrictions.
In camps in Calais and Dunkirk which house an estimated 1,500 migrants, at least 9 migrants have been confirmed to have been infected with the coronavirus. Despite the fear of an outbreak in the camps, the British government is not testing every illegal migrant for the illness.
The former general-secretary of the Immigration Services Union (ISU), Lucy Moreton, told The Times that: “On a purely statistical basis, someone has to have brought it over”.
Moreton said that migrants were not being tested when they are brought ashore or when they are moved to local council areas, where they are rehoused while they are processed. The Home Office claims that any migrants displaying symptoms of the virus are tested, but Moreton warned that it was difficult to spot signs of the illness after the arduous journey over the Channel.
“When a Border Force vessel picks these people up, there’s no way of assessing symptoms. They are cold, wet and often seasick,” she said.
UK: Only 15 Per Cent of Boat Migrants Are Sent Back As Iranian Illegal Immigration Surges https://t.co/m8sj3ga2Vw
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 20, 2020
The Home Office figures do not count migrants that were caught on the French side of the channel and only represent those migrants that were actually detected illegally entering the country by the UK Border Force.
Attempting to enter the United Kingdom illegally by boat or other means does not mean that a migrant will automatically be deported. Migrants are instead brought ashore and given the opportunity to apply for asylum — despite the fact that France is a safe, first world country — in line with European Union regulations which Britain is still bound by.
In 2019, just fifteen per cent of all illegal boat migrants were deported.
People-smugglers in France have been charging £13,000 per person for crossing the Channel, up from £7,000 since autumn. In October, Breitbart London reported that the police in France were accused of assisting people-smugglers traffick migrants into Britain, notifying the criminals as to the best times to make illegal crossings.
Home Secretary Priti Patel has claimed that she is “determined” to halt the flow of illegal boat migrants over the English Channel.
“Criminal gangs are using false promises to take advantage of desperate situations and illegally smuggle people into the UK,” she said per the BBC.
“We are continuing to support the French to deploy extra patrols on French beaches, drones, specialist vehicles and detection equipment to stop these boats leaving European shores,” Patel added.
There are no signs the British government intends to start turning around illegal migrants reaching British shores or territorial waters and escorting them back to France immediately, however.
Channel Patrols Should Immediately Return Illegals to France, Say Former Immigration Chiefs https://t.co/c1h3zJFytG
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 22, 2019
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