Ministers accused of 'losing control' of immigration

Ministers accused of ‘losing control’ of immigration as think tank claims cash paid to asylum seekers acts as a ‘no lose pull factor’ for many to cross the Channel

  • Migration Watch UK released report on immigration in the past year today
  • Claims only tiny minority of illegal boat arrivals have been removed 
  • Says cash paid to asylum seekers are a ‘pull factor’ which attract illegal entrants

The Government has been accused of ‘losing control’ of illegal immigration, with an asylum policy which is a ‘no lose’ situation for those who manage to reach Britain.

A think-tank which campaigns for tougher border controls called for a review of the amounts paid to asylum seekers by the taxpayer, suggesting they are a ‘pull factor’ which attract illegal entrants.

Migration Watch UK, in a report published today, also said only a tiny minority of those who arrived illegally by boat have been removed since Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned last August: ‘We will send you back.’

More than 5,466 have arrived since the start of September, it said.

But only 3 per cent, or 169 people, have been removed under European Union rules which state migrants must claim refugee status in the first safe country they reach.

A migrant boat arrived on the Channel coast this morning in a rigid inflatable boat close to the Port of Dover, the 11th day running people have arrived in Kent. Those in it were arrested by local police.

A migrant boat arrived on the Channel coast this morning in a rigid inflatable boat close to the Port of Dover. Those in it were arrested by local police

The pressure group also noted the UK took three times as many asylum seekers from other EU states as it sent back – 2,390 came here between 2017 and 2019, while just 786 were returned.

A spokesman for the group added: ‘For many illegal entrants, getting to the UK is a no-lose option.’

Alp Mehmet, the think-tank’s chairman, said: ‘The Government have lost control of illegal immigration across the Channel.

‘As well as deterring people from setting out, they must address the pull factors.

‘A major review is essential, including revision of the law on payments to asylum seekers.’

Its report highlighted the £39.60 a week that is paid by the Home Office to each asylum seeker, many of whom are also entitled to free accommodation.

It said official figures from the National Audit Office suggested there are a total of 150,000 asylum seekers in the UK.

Yesterday THU migrants in lifejackets and masks were brought into the Port of Dover aboard a Border Force patrol boat before being taken ashore by officials.

It was the tenth consecutive day of arrivals – a record – including a daily high of 235 on Thursday last week.

The Government has asked for military assistance, which so far has taken the form of two RAF surveillance planes, but proposals to send armed forces to the Channel to deal with small boat crossings have come under fire from France.

Calais mayor Natacha Bouchart said earlier this week that sending the Royal Navy into the Channel would be a ‘declaration of maritime war’.

One Conservative MP retaliated by suggesting Britain should invade Calais.

Sir Edward Leigh MP – who has represented Gainsborough, Kent since 1983 – yesterday/on Wednesday tweeted: ‘Problems with cross-Channel migrants?

‘We should never have lost Calais in 1558. Why not take it back?

‘On second thoughts, cheaper to pay the French a few million to stop them on the beaches.’

The Home Secretary Priti Patel has told Tory MPs that the asylum system is ‘broken’ as she promised to introduce laws that would ‘send the left into meltdown’.

In a briefing to backbenchers, Miss Patel said the system was being ‘exploited by leftie Labour-supporting lawyers’ who were doing everything they could to stop the Government removing people.

New laws – with the provisional title of the Fair Borders Bill – is expected early next year.

The Home Secretary Priti Patel has told Tory MPs that the asylum system is ‘broken’ as she promised to introduce laws that would ‘send the left into meltdown’

The Mail revealed in May that it will include measures forcing failed asylum seekers to lodge all their grounds for appeal at the beginning of a case, rather than being able to drip-feed new elements of a claim in order to delay a final ruling and avoid removal from the UK.

It is understood the Bill could also contain other new immigration measures which will depend on the results of Brexit negotiations and separate talks with France, which opened this week.

Numbers arriving yesterday THU are yet to be confirmed but 71 migrants came on six boats on Wednesday.

Miss Patel’s newly appointed Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, former Royal Marine Dan O’Mahoney, said: ‘These crossings are dangerous and unnecessary and I am determined to stop them.

‘The minister and I met with French officials in Paris on Tuesday for discussions on how to advance joint working on making the small boats route for illegal migration unviable.

‘We will continue to go after the heinous criminals and organised crime networks putting people’s lives at risk.’

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