Channel Migrant Tsar Claims ‘Vast Majority’ of Asylum Seekers Are ‘Genuine’

TOPSHOT - An anti-immigation protester holds up a placard during a demo in Dover on the south-east coast of England, on September 5, 2020, as pro-and anti-migrant demonstrations take place in the town. - Nearly 1,500 migrants and asylum seekers arrived in Britain by small boats in August, according to …
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The “vast majority” of illegal migrants claiming asylum in the United Kingdom are “genuine”, alleged the recently installed Channel Migrant Tsar, despite figures pointing to the contrary.

On Saturday, Clandestine Channel Threat Commander Dan O’Mahoney laid out the government’s strategy for dealing with the growing boat migrant crisis in the English Channel. The plan included a suggestion that the Border Force may deploy nets in order to disable the rubber boats before they reach British territorial waters.

He went on to say, however, that he feels “sympathy” for asylum seekers, and that he believes the overwhelming majority are actual refugees.

“The vast majority of people seeking refuge in the UK are genuine asylum seekers. And they come from incredibly difficult conditions in the country, some of which I’ve been to and witnessed first-hand, and I have a huge amount of sympathy for that,” O’Mahoney told The Telegraph.

The claim was shot down by Migration Watch UK Chairman Alp Mehmet, who told Breitbart London: “This assertion simply doesn’t stack up. Ninety-eight per cent of those crossing the Channel illegally do claim asylum, but this is hardly an indication of genuineness.”

“In fact, figures for overall asylum claims show that the majority are not. But few of those who fail with their claims are ever removed, which is why the numbers crossing the Channel keep going up. Casting nets over dinghies will do little to stem the flow,” he warned.

Mehmet told Breitbart London that many migrants whose asylum claims are not genuine are still able to find ways to stay — and that the authorities can be “all too ready” to grant asylum or humanitarian protection to people who are really economic migrants, in any case.

According to figures released by the Home Office, in 2019 there were 35,737 asylum applications to the government. Of these 5,453 were granted asylum and a further 583 were granted discretionary leave to remain, humanitarian protection, or other means of staying in the country.

In contrast, 5,829 applications were either rejected or withdrawn by the applicant, meaning that almost half of the decided asylum cases were rejected — a far cry from the “vast majority” government immigration Tsar Mr O’Mahoney claimed.

A further 24,072 cases remain undecided, according to the most recent data.

The figures also fail to reflect whether those granted asylum status were indeed “genuine”, as many asylum seekers are able to make claims despite travelling from safe first-world nations such as France, and entering the country illegally.

“It is illegal to cross the Channel in a small boat and we arrest people for illegal entry on their arrival in the UK, but it is also then legal for them to claim asylum. And that doesn’t feel right,” Mr O’Mahoney admitted.

A report from Migration Watch that analysed the latest figures released from the National Audit Office (NAO) estimated that there are currently around 150,000 asylum seekers in the UK, including those who have had their claims rejected but have not been deported by the government.

Out of the 150,000, there are some 48,000 supposed asylum seekers being supported by the British taxpayer as of March of this year. However, the actual number is likely to be far higher in light of record waves of illegal boat migrants crossing the English Channel from France this year.

The NAO estimates that by the end of the decade, Britons will fork out over £4 billion in support payments to those claiming asylum.

While being processed, the migrants are provided free housing, free National Health Service (NHS) healthcare, dental and eyesight care, education for their children, and a weekly allowance of £37.75 to £39.60.

In September the Home Office revealed that the number of so-called ‘boomerang migrants‘ — who were granted asylum status after previously being deported as fraudulent refugees — doubled in 2019.

Conservative MP Peter Bone suggested that many migrants are attempting to “game the system” until they get the desired result.

“Ministers should consider new rules which forbid those who have made a failed attempt from coming back,” Bone suggested.

The idea that the majority of asylum seekers are in fact genuine has been further refuted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which admitted in May that the overwhelming majority of illegal boat migrants entering Europe are not in fact refugees but rather economic migrants.

The UNHCR special envoy for the illegal immigration situation in the Mediterranean, Vincent Cochetel said: “A fair and equitable return mechanism must also be put in place. Because otherwise the whole asylum system will be called into question by European states and their peoples.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here: @KurtZindulka

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