UK-France migrant crisis threatens more people

UK-France migrant crisis threatens more people

DOVER, England - Nov 25, Reuters - The day after 27 people died trying to reach Britain in an inflatable dinghy, charities said the Channel dividing Britain from France is sure to claim more migrants who flee war and poverty across the Middle East and Africa.

Unless we see this as a catalyst for systemic change, this will keep happening again and it will get worse, said Kay Marsh, who works for the migrant charity Samphire in Dover, Britain's gateway to Europe. In the past decade, hundreds of thousands of people have slipped into the wealthy economies of Western Europe with the help of smugglers, fleeing conflict, persecution and poverty on epic journeys from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Sudan and elsewhere. Few are welcomed.

France and Britain blamed each other on Thursday after the worst recorded accident in the Channel. Around 40 migrants made it to Dover only hours after the drownings to be taken away by British border forces in a red double-decker bus. The smugglers charge $2,500 per person and neither the peril of the crossing nor the peril of the crossing.

The demand for asylum in Britain should be allowed from outside the country, according to campaigners.

People with legitimate claims to asylum can be brought here safely, so we need to give people the option to claim asylum before they reach British shores, a processing centre in northern France, where they can make their claim to asylum without having to make the crossing, and people with a legitimate claim to asylum can be brought here, Marsh said.

In the past year, 25,776 migrants have been found to have illegally crossed the Channel, up from 8,461 in 2020 and 1,835 in 2019, according to tallies compiled by the BBC using interior ministry data.

Enver Solomon, chief executive of the Refugee Council charity, said the government needs to look at safe routes, safe ways for people who are in search of safety to get to the UK. Prime Minister Boris Johnson spokesman said this would only encourage more people to embark on dangerous journeys.

We need to address illegal migration upstream and before people reach the French coast.