Boat Migrants Make Mad NYE Dash to Land in Britain Before Brexit

DOVER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 22: Border Force officials unload migrants, that have been intercepted in the English Channel, in order to process them on September 22, 2020 in Dover, England. This summer has seen an increase in people making the journey in small crafts from France seeking asylum in U.K. …
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A group of thirty-three illegal boat migrants made a last-minute dash across the English Channel on New Year’s Eve, in order to land on British shores before the end of the Brexit “transition” period.

The illegal migrants were brought ashore by the UK Border Force after they set sail from France under the cover of darkness in the early hours of the morning.

Despite freezing temperatures in the Channel, the migrants were witnessed arriving at the Port of Dover wearing little more than shorts and flip flops, according to the Daily Telegraph.

With the departure from the EU, the United Kingdom should be able to begin rejecting asylum claims from migrants intercepted at sea — although time will tell whether a more robust policy is actually implemented, as the Tory government has promised.

Britain has also left the Dublin III Regulation, which sets asylum policy across Europe.

The regulation determines which countries in the bloc are responsible for granting asylum to migrants, which is typically supposed to be the first safe country the migrant sets foot in. This, however, has not been the case with France and Britain, with nearly 9,000 illegal migrants landing in England in 2020 and scant deportations back to the wealthy European nation — because it is not the first safe country they passed through, for the most part.

Though the United Kingdom has left the Dublin III Regulation, it has not secured an agreement with the EU or any individual country in the bloc as for the return of illegal immigrants following Brexit.

Speaking before the House of Commons in September, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he has “a great deal of sympathy with those who are so desperate [to leave France] as to put their children in dinghies or even children’s paddling pools and try to cross the Channel.”

“But I have to say what they’re doing is falling prey to criminal gangs and they are breaking the law. They’re also undermining the legitimate claims of others who would seek asylum in this country.

“That is why we will take advantage of leaving the EU by changing the Dublin regulations on returns and we will address the rigidities in our laws that makes this country, I’m afraid, a target and a magnet for those who would exploit vulnerable people in this way,” Mr Johnson concluded.

In November, Home Secretary Priti Patel agreed to send £28 million to France to increase patrols of beaches used by migrants to set sail for England.

Since 2014, the UK has sent some £192 million to France to reduce illegal immigration, without success.

The Home Secretary has also pledged to reform the United Kingdom’s “fundamentally broken” asylum system, vowing to introduce legislation for the “biggest overhaul” of the system in “decades”.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here: @KurtZindulka

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