Migration Watch: 7,500 Illegal Boat Migrants Will Reach the UK by Christmas

CALAIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 09: A person walks along the coastal footpath at Sangatte as a cross channel ferry makes its way to Calais January 09, 2019 in Calais, France. In recent weeks there has been an increase in migrants, many claiming to be from Iran, making the sea crossing …
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Migration Watch UK has issued a report that predicts that the number of illegal boat migrants entering the United Kingdom will be more than 7,500 by the end of the year, as Home Secretary Priti Patel backs away from her pledge to make illegal migration an “infrequent phenomenon”.

Illegal boat migration across the English Channel has increased in the first six months of 2020, with at least 2,400 migrants successfully reaching British shores since the beginning of the year, four times the 600 migrants that came during the same period in 2019.

The London-based think tank Migration Watch UK said in a report that if this trend continues, by Christmas nearly 7,600 illegal migrants will have entered the country, compared to the 1,900 that came in 2019. The migration pressure group also noted that the figures only reflect those boat migrants that were actually detected by migration officials, meaning that in reality, the numbers are likely higher.

On Monday, Home Secretary Priti Patel told the Press Association that there were “far too many crossings”.

When asked if there was a new timetable to reduce illegal crossings to an “infrequent phenomenon,” Patel said: “No. The fact of the matter is, I’ve said from day one this is a complicated issue. Illegal migration has been a feature of every single Government.”

“The fact of the matter is, and I have repeatedly said this, when it comes to small boats in particular that is a route that has become far too viable for criminals,” Patel added.

In comments seen by Breitbart London, Migration Watch UK chairman Alp Mehmet said in response: “The Home Secretary said she wanted illegal Channel crossings to become an ‘infrequent phenomenon’. The opposite has happened with their frequency picking up pace.”

“This cannot continue; it undermines confidence in the whole system and emboldens the traffickers. Urgent and effective action is essential if the public’s faith in our ability to control our border is not to be lost for good,” Mehmet added.

To tackle the growing crisis of illegal boat migration, Migration Watch laid out a series of policy proposals for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government to adopt.

First, the think tank said that the government should come to an agreement with the French government, that would see illegal migrants attempting to cross the Channel to be immediately returned to France.

Next, Migration Watch called on the government to provide a “major boost” in funding for UK immigration enforcement, which according to the National Audit Office has been cut by some £47 million since 2015. The pressure group also called on the government to provide Immigration Compliance and Enforcement Teams with “more support and determined leadership”.

Finally, the report called for the government to “substantially increase the number of removals of those with no right to be here, including failed asylum seekers”, as well as “opting out of the EU’s inimical Dublin 3 arrangements, which have proved to be totally inadequate for the needs of the UK”.

On Tuesday, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage shared a clip on social media, which purported to show a rubber dinghy full of illegal migrants narrowly missing a collision with a cargo ship in the English Channel.

“This clip taken today shows just how hazardous these migrant crossings are, across some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world,” Mr Farage said.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka

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