What was the rate of illegal immigration to the UK in 2021?
What steps has the UK government taken to tackle the problem of illegal immigration?
What has the UK government asked social media to do about illegal immigrants?
The latest official figures show that despite stricter immigration regulations in the UK, the number of people entering the country illegally through the high-risk channel has reached a record high. This calls into question the usefulness of strict measures in this regard and has led the government to consider punishing those who enter the country illegally.
Home Office Statistics on Illegal Immigration
The Home Office said on 19 July that 430 migrants, including women and children, had been arrested by border guards on the South Coast of England. On the previous day, 241 people had boarded eight British yachts and been arrested. About 8,000 people aboard 345 boats have reportedly migrated to the UK since the beginning of the year. The last time this number reached 416 thousand people was in September last year, which was a new record.
UK Measures to Tackle Illegal Immigration
The UK government is trying to make the country an unattractive place for immigrants by enacting strict laws. The Home Office says it has taken significant steps to tackle the problem of illegal immigration. The home secretary made changes to the immigration system to make it more difficult to grant asylum to people entering the country illegally. According to Home Secretary Priti Patel, asylum seekers deemed to have arrived in the UK illegally will no longer have the same entitlements as those who arrive in the country via legal routes. Even if their claim is successful, they will be granted temporary refugee status and face the prospect of being indefinitely liable for removal. Noting that many refugees, including women and children, have lost their lives on their way to the UK, she claims that the new asylum system will work faster and more fairly, and provide better protection for vulnerable people. The home secretary said that the way to prevent the death of refugees is to prevent human trafficking, claiming that the new measures taken by the government have created a safe and legal way to immigrate to this country.
The Government Is Seeking to Impose Penalties for Illegal Immigration
According to French officials, in the first six months of this year, migrants who crossed the English Channel throughout 2020. The English Channel is one of the busiest transportation lines in the world, but travelling through this passage has been made more difficult due to climate change. A new bill to change immigration laws is currently under consideration in the UK Parliament, and if passed, intentional illegal immigration to the UK would be a crime with a maximum sentence of four years. These punishments are part of the “Nationality and Borders Bill“, which is currently being considered by the UK Parliament.
Prohibition of Publishing Asylum-Related Content in Cyberspace
While various laws in Europe have so far prevented refugees from entering the area, this time the UK government has resorted to social media to help prevent illegal entry. In this regard, the Home Secretary Priti Patel asked the social networks to remove all content with the content of asylum and crossing the English Channel, which can encourage asylum seekers, in order to discourage this group of people. In a letter to social media companies, Patel explained that the advertising content published on these platforms was unacceptable and advised all social media platforms to be less of a motivation for seeking asylum by removing such content. The Home Office also issued a statement explaining that human traffickers use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to attract desperate immigrants and, after receiving substantial sums of money, encourage them to cross this dangerous waterway to Europe.
Stronger British-French Cooperation in Combating Illegal Immigration
With the increase in the number of illegal immigrants entering the UK via the English Channel, the British government agreed to pay €62.7 million to France to help strengthen the operation to prevent migrants from crossing this dangerous channel. The French agreed to double the number of their agents along the coast and, by purchasing appropriate equipment, increase the area under their control to prevent migrants from entering the UK. They are also set to use British funding to build more shelters for refugees in France to stop them from migrating to the UK. The agreement was reached between the UK Home Secretary Priti Patel and the French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin. According to the agreement, most of the operations are to be concentrated in France in order to stop the migration. France says it has prevented more than 7,500 migrants from moving to the UK. Official figures from the British government show that about 8,000 people have immigrated to the UK illegally so far.
French-British Dispute over Illegal Immigrants
Calais MP Pierre-Henri Dumont suggested it would not have an impact as the French coastline is too big. He said that the fact is, we’ve seen it before. Having more money, more police officers and more controls, will not prevent people from succeeding in their crossing attempts. The UK, meanwhile, insists the French side must intervene and repatriate the migrants.
Social experts cite the imminent implementation of the “Nationality and Borders” bill as one of the reasons why asylum seekers have begun crossing the channel in recent days. The “Nationality and Borders” bill has been criticised by NGOs and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). They warned that the bill was based on a discriminatory class system and would weaken support for asylum seekers. Meanwhile, human rights activists called the British proposal inhumane and similar to the policies of the former US President Donald Trump, and warned against repeating the same fate. During his four years in office, Trump pursued the toughest immigration policies against other countries, and now human rights activists have warned Boris Johnson that if such actions continue, he will face Trump’s fate.