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Life vests abandoned by illegals on a UK beach. Photo: Pixabay

Flood of illegal Channel crossings stoke tensions between UK and France

According to the BBC, more than 1 200 migrants crossed the Channel to England in August alone. Tension is mounting between France and the United Kingdom.

Published: August 19, 2020, 10:32 am

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    This is a record that greatly worries British authorities. As revealed by the BBC, more than 1 200 migrants crossed the Channel in August 2020. In the weekend of August 15 alone, 187 migrants were intercepted by British border guards.

    This trend had already peaked on August 6, with 235 illegals intercepted on the English side. According to details from the BBC, 4 400 migrants have already successfully crossed since the start of the year. That is more than double the figure for the whole of 2019.

    Asked by the English media, Dan O’Mahoney, the newly appointed Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, said he was “determined to send back those whose asylum request is not legitimate”. He has served in the Royal Marines, including in operational deployments in Kosovo and Iraq.

    According to O’Mahoney, these crossings are facilitated by criminals who earn money by exploiting desperate migrants who want to reach the United Kingdom.

    But associations helping illegals said the latest decisions taken by the British government were wrong. Refugee Action thus judged the attitude of Dan O’Mahoney “aggressive and hostile” towards these asylum seekers.

    The mayor of Calais, Natacha Bouchart, for her part asked the British authorities to “calm down”. Also according to information from the BBC, the city councilor of Calais considered that the use of the Royal Navy by the British in support of their coast guards was “a declaration of war”.

    A British MP even proposed annexing Calais to prevent the departure of migrants. As a reminder, interceptions and rescues are also numerous on the French side with 54 castaways caught last weekend by the Gris-Nez Regional Operational Surveillance and Rescue Center.

    The leader of the Brexit Party, Nigel Farage has meanwhile embarrassed UK Home Secretary Priti Patel by finding illegal migrants in an Essex hotel in a rural part of Patel’s own Witham constituency. The Home Office has since announced a formal review after migrants seeking asylum were “mistakenly placed in a hotel”.

    Farage revealed on Twitter that migrants had been put up in a hotel in the village of Rivenhall and posted a video of himself visiting the hotel. “Home secretary Priti Patel has been most critical of the crisis in the Channel. So why is her local hotel in Witham housing illegal migrants? She is taking her constituents and all of us for a ride.”

    Farage said earlier: “Over 80 percent are young men between 18 and 26 who would never qualify for refugee status. The criminal gangs have made millions and millions”. He told talkRADIO’s Dan Wootton: “The French want another £30 million of our money to police their coastline… we were suckered into giving away another £30 million in return for nothing”.

    “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: This is an invasion,” Farage warned. He said polling figures show how out of touch politicians were. “Mainstream media is even more clueless. People care about this issue.”

    Some 73 percent of Britons see illegal entry to the UK via the Channel as a serious issue. This is the case for 97 percent of Conservative voters.

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