The new security fence at the designed to hold back immigrants at the Calais ferry port has been blown over by wind for the second time. Despite costing £12m to install in November French media reports it collapsed on Thursday and have still not been repaired.
The fences are under constant attack as desperate illegal immigrants try to enter the UK. Authorities in Calais are overwhelmed by the problem because the Schengen Agreement allows free movement between 26 European Union countries. This enables African and Middle Eastern immigrants who illegally sail the Mediterranean to Italy to travel freely all the way to the UK border.
Once illegal immigrants get past the fence they are effectively within the United Kingdom and can get onto ferries travelling to Dover without any further need to pass border security.
Many of them want to get to the UK because of the generous benefits paid to immigrants, and the low rates of deportation for those found to be living in Britain illegally. They are also attracted by London, which has a community from virtually every country in the world, making illegal employment easier.
The fence was part of a pledge to spend £12m in September putting extra security at Calais. The fence itself was used for the NATO summit in Cardiff last year, and was moved to France when it was no-longer needed. At the time the fences acquired the nickname ‘The Ring of Steel’ suggesting they were far more hard-wearing than they have proved to be.
East of England UKIP MEP Janice Atkinson said: “A tide of illegal migrants are wreaking havoc in Calais and these security fences have already been described by the Mayor as ‘some sort of joke’.
“Cameron’s complicity in allowing this horrific Calais crisis perpetuates the misery of the town, the vulnerability of migrants, the profits of traffickers, the threat to Britain’s borders, chaos at the port, and the flow of illegal immigration across the Channel. Nothing better signifies the collapse of his policy, in tolerating the enticements for migrants to descend on Calais, than the literal collapse of his security fences.”
She also warned that French Police were being put under “intolerable pressure” as they fight a “running battle” every night with illegal immigrants. Police are reported to be using tear gas to hold back the crowds. A UKIP spokesman also claimed the French government were unable to deport illegal immigrants due to pressure from the “pro-immigration lobby” in the country.
The fence is seen as critical to anti-terrorism, and the Home Office put extra security in Calais after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, amidst fears Jihadis would try to get out of France to attack Britain.