The British government is “actively” considering opening a second migrant camp to house some 250 alleged asylum seekers in Wales, as the illegal boat migration crisis in the UK deepens.
Following the revelation that the Home Office has taken over a former army barracks in Kent to hold some 450 migrants, the Welsh Secretary of State and the MP for South Pembrokeshire and Carmarthen West, Simon Hart, confirmed that the government is considering opening a second camp in a Ministry of Defence facility the small Welsh village of Penally just outside of Tenby.
Mr Hart claimed that the proposed migrant camp would have “minimal impact” on the community, according to Wales Online.
“I have now spoken to the Home Secretary, who is exploring (with a range of partners and Government departments) opportunities for further Covid-19 compliant accommodation for those seeking asylum,” Hart said.
“Following the submission of a request, the Ministry of Defence have commenced scoping options across the UK. One of the sites under active consideration is Penally Training Camp,” he confirmed.
The number of illegal boat migrants recorded to have arrived in September has already set a monthly record, with 1,487 making the journey across the English Channel from France, according to The Telegraph. The record waves of migrants for this month are set to surpass the total number recorded in the whole year of 2019, which was 1,890.
'Asylum seekers' camp objectors gather in force outside the Penally site https://t.co/XAsj5GIl2O pic.twitter.com/8SgUAG5bKl
— Western Telegraph (@WTelegraph) September 16, 2020
Hundreds of residents in Penally disagreed with Simon Hart’s claims that the facility will have “minimal impact” on their community. Over 200 members of a group called the ‘Penally Camp Protest’ gathered outside the proposed migrant camp on Tuesday. The group has over 2,200 members on Facebook.
A spokesman for the group, Darren Edmundson, told the Western Telegraph that the group is “concerned for the safety of our family and our children, as we don’t know the background of the asylum seekers”.
“It has been confirmed that (it) is just 250 men. Why not women and children as well?” he questioned.
“We wanted to know the facts etc. It was so disappointing to not see the council or any MPs turn up to answer any questions,” he said, adding: “Simon Hart should have been there.”
Mr Edmundson said that they feel the facility would be better suited to help the local homeless people, saying: “We feel that the camp should have been used to benefit the community.”
Local councillors have also spoken out against the decision. County Councillor Jon Preston accused the government of choosing the location without understanding the local context, an exercise he characterised as “pushing pins in maps without any knowledge of the area.”
According to the latest figures from the National Audit Office (NAO) report, there are some 48,000 supposed asylum seekers receiving support from the British taxpayer as of March of this year. The number is more than double than that recorded in 2012.
The report estimated that the British taxpayer will be on the hook for at least £4 billion by the end of the decade in support payments to the migrants. However, this will likely be much higher in light of the record numbers of illegal boat migrants entering the UK.
400 Migrants to Be Housed in Former Army Barracks ‘Open Camp’ in Kent https://t.co/fWasJklmXE
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 16, 2020
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