Channel crossing: Border forces stop 70% of migrant attempts in post-Brexit crackdown

Brexit: Barnier warns of ‘feelings of not being protected’

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Boris Johnson’s Government has increased a post-Brexit crackdown on asylum claims to the UK. The new figures show a sharp contrast to the Anglo-French border forces efforts to prevent 55 percent of crossings last year. In 2020, a record 8,410 migrants made the treacherous Channel crossing journey by small boats.

This was four times more than the 1,850 who made the journey in 2019.

The Government has poured £28 million into the French authorities to prevent asylum seekers from crossing the Channel.

The money was injected to double the number of police officers on beaches and boost surveillance such as drones and CCTV cameras.

A new post-Brexit law also means immigration officials can reject any asylum applications as “inadmissible” if a migrant has initially travelled through a “safe” European country.

The law came into effect in January when the UK officially left the Brexit transition period.

It replaced the Dublin Regulation agreement which dictated that a migrant’s asylum claim could be turned down on the grounds that they should have sought refuge in the first EU country they entered.

Reports suggest immigration officials are currently processing the first migrants expected to be removed from the UK under the new post-Brexit law.

According to the Telegraph, immigration minister Chris Philip said: “As a result of our improved intelligence-sharing with the French and enhanced surveillance, we have stopped approximately 700 crossings in 2021, despite there being a 50 per cent increase in crossing attempts on last year.

“However, we are not complacent. We will step up our activity into spring and are aware there is much more to do to make this route non-viable, and target the vile organised crime gangs who facilitate these dangerous crossings.

“Now we have left the EU we have changed the law meaning those who have travelled through safe countries will have their asylum cases treated as inadmissible. The Government are working as fast as possible to fix the broken asylum system to make it firm and fair.”

Last year, Britain and France signed the new agreement aimed at curbing the number of migrants crossing the Channel in small boats.

However, humanitarian charities criticised the new agreement as an “extraordinary mark of failure”.

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Bella Sankey, director of humanitarian charity Detention Action, claimed the move was like “rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic”.

Amnesty International UK also said it was “profoundly disappointing”.

Speaking inside the Foreign Office in November, home secretary Priti Patel said: “We know that the French authorities have stopped over 5,000 migrants from crossing into the United Kingdom, we’ve had hundreds of arrests and that’s because of the joint intelligence and communications that we share between both our authorities.

“This new package today that I have just signed with my French counterpart, the French interior minister, effectively doubles the number of police on the French beaches, it invests in more technologies and surveillance – more radar technology that support the law enforcement effort – and on top of that we are now sharing in terms of toughening up our border security.”

Ms Patel is reportedly preparing a policy paper to toughen asylum laws in the UK and increase action against smugglers.

She is said to be proposing to place curbs on human rights claimants who seek to prevent their deportation.

Ms Patel wants judges to place more weight on the criminal records of people seeking asylum in the UK who are appealing their deportation.

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