Not Protecting Our Borders

All through the coronavirus crisis reports keep coming of illegal immigrants starting out from Calais and landing safely on our Channel shores, courtesy of the UK Border Force, who then send them to immigration centres for their asylum applications to be processed and to be given food and shelter. While there ae one or two children among the immigrants, the great majority are young men from the Middle East and Africa.

The MP for Dover, Nathalie Elphicke, has repeatedly asked the Home Office (which Border Force is part of) not to land the would-be asylum-seekers on British soil, but to return them directly to France or Belgium whence they came.

EU Dublin Convention 2007

Under the EU Dublin Convention of 2007 the countries where asylum-seekers first entered the EU are bound to accept them. A country, like Britain, at the end of the chain is fully entitled legally to return illegals to the last EU country they left – in this case France. Being in UK waters when rescued by the Border Force no more alters this position than being in UK airspace when discovered on an aircraft.

Wanted: an advertising blitz

A recent news report by Fergal Keene showed the awful conditions which the hundreds of asylum-seekers are subsisting in, around Calais, fed by aid workers from both Britain and France. Despite the fact that France has repeatedly offered to grant asylum to most of these folk, all interviewed by Keene made it clear they insisted on getting to England by hook or by crook. Keene failed to ask them why they felt they were entitled to break into someone else’s country.

The French people around Calais have repeatedly commented that it is the double prospect of generous treatment and zero risk of deportation from Britain – even if asylum is refused, that encourages refugees to keep trying.

Reinforce the rule that asylum applications must be made in the first safe country applicants come to. The British Foreign Office needs to carry out a publicity blitz in all the countries the refugees come from and pass through saying that applications for asylum will not be entertained in Britain itself. Arrivals without entry certificates will be immediately returned to the country they last came from, with no recourse to the British courts allowed.

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