Former Aussie PM: UK Will Face Own Migrant Crisis Unless Boats Are Turned Back

Migrants
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The former prime minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, warned the UK might face its own migrant crisis unless it turns the boats back in the English Channel.

Mr Abbott has become an authority in stopping illegal boat migration, after the successful implementation of his Operation Sovereign Borders seven years ago, which stops illegals from landing in Australia by turning them back at sea.

Actions by Mr Abbott’s government, and that of conservative Hungary, have proven the likes of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres — who claimed in 2016 that mass migration was “inevitable and will not stop” — completely wrong.

The UK has seen a rise in illegal boat migrants travel from France across the English Channel and landing on the south-east coast of Great Britain since 2016, with a sudden rise this year. Nigel Farage has turned his hand from Brexiteering to investigative journalist, reporting on the spike in arrivals since the coronavirus lockdown. He revealed not only the French navy escorting migrant boats from French to British territorial waters but that they are coordinating with UK authorities in the handover of the illegals.

Comparing the migrant crisis of 2015 that saw one million third world migrants pour into Europe, former Prime Minister Abbott warned that the English Channel’s “trickle” could “quickly become a flood”, blaming the signals sent to illegals and smugglers that once you set foot — or boat — on British territory, you can stay.

“As long as ‘to arrive is to remain’, people smugglers will have a business model and those countries that lack the will to say ‘no’ are at risk of peaceful invasion. This is the prospect that faces Britain, if swift action is not taken to stop people coming illegally by boat,” Mr Abbott wrote for the British Telegraph on Sunday.

“This is the prospect that faced Australia when I became prime minister in 2013. Our sea border had become porous because my predecessor had dismantled earlier arrangements that denied illegal arrivals permanent residency. From just a few hundred illegal boat people in 2009, by July 2013 almost 5,000 had arrived in a single month,” Mr Abbott wrote as a forewarning, adding that between 2009 and the introduction of Operation Sovereign Borders, more than 50,000 had “bought” from smugglers new lives for themselves in Australia.

The British government has hitherto claimed that neither the UK Border Force nor the French can turn the boats back in the English Channel because international law prohibits it unless the illegals consent or the vessels face distress. When Mr Abbott was met with similar claims from pro-open borders NGOs, he said: “We simply obtained different and better legal advice.”

He explained Australia’s process: “To save lives, it had to stop; as well as to regain control of our borders and to keep our self-respect as a country. So instead of rescuing people who had no right to come here, and bringing them to Australia, my government instructed the navy to intercept boats, to escort them to the edge of Indonesian waters, and to leave them with just enough fuel to return from whence they’d come. And when the people smugglers scuttled their boats, we had unsinkable orange life rafts to put them on board for the trip back to Java. Sometimes, would-be migrants had to be kept on Australian ships till it was safe to send them back.”

“This is the fundamental truth that policy makers in Britain need to understand. To stop people from setting out for Britain in unseaworthy boats, you have to ensure that they never arrive; or that if they do arrive they are swiftly sent back. Especially if people setting out for Britain in overloaded dinghies are going to be rescued and taken where they want to go, the boats will keep coming,” he said.

Mr Abbott said that like Australia’s struggles to get the Indonesians to “stamp out people smuggling”, the French must also take responsibly for the illegals leaving their shores, adding: “The French have no right to wave-on their problems to Britain just because they are unwilling or unable to control their own borders.”

“Plainly, this will require a degree of determination and planning on Britain’s part. The French may not like to hear ‘they shall not pass’ from Britons… Still, in the long run, this is for France’s good too; as the only way to clear the camps in Calais is to ensure that none of their occupants can ever get across the Channel and stay,” he said.

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