A former Border Force chief has warned that the United Kingdom’s failure to reach a deal with France on illegal migrant crossings could lead to numbers reaching ‘crisis’ levels, his words of warning come after over 200 suspected illegal migrants managed to cross to Britain on Thursday alone in a surge, a single-day record.
Tony Smith CBE, the former head of UK Border Force said the UK and France need to agree a treaty with a joint patrol where migrants picked up in the Channel can be returned to France to have asylum claims considered in the French Republic rather than the United Kingdom.
Mr Smith said: “What I’m advocating is that we need to try as best we can to replicate the juxtaposed controls for legitimate applicants in the same way as for illegitimate applicants.
“If they want to come to the UK they need to make their case on the French side, and if they are found in the waterways or even make it as far as Dover we say ‘I’m sorry but you go back there and that’s where you will be interviewed and processed, on the French side’.”
Last month the Home Secretary Priti Patel said that the French must do more and conceded that they have a different interpretation of maritime law than to the United Kingdom, this French interpretation of maritime law stops French vessels from intercepting suspected illegal immigrants from crossing the channel.
On Saturday Immigration compliance minister Chris Philp called on France to be stronger on intercepting vessels at sea and directing the return of boats which are trying to get to the UK.
When asked how hopeful he is of the Home Office being able to reach a new deal with France, Mr Smith said: “I wouldn’t like to call it as to whether or not they can make the breakthrough.
“All I would say is we’ve done it before and the numbers then were far greater.
“I think there are potentially opportunities but there will have to be some kind of a quid pro quo which would satisfy the French that this was a measure that was designed to help both parties, not just a one-way street where the UK essentially is able to blockade anybody coming over from France.”
He said the current approach is putting people’s lives at risk and “fuelling the smuggling supply chains”.
He added: “I do worry that if we can’t get a new agreement with the French on returns we’re not going to be able to stop this and we could see numbers of the scale of which we’ve seen in years gone by.”
Editor-in-Chief | Carl D. Pearson has been involved in British politics and media from an early age, with the key knowledge of what it takes to run a news organisation for the 21st century. Mr Pearson, as Editor-in-chief, is responsible for supervising the daily tasks of publishing media and content to UNN’s website and various platforms.
This content was sourced from Unity News Network.