Crisis as record migrants land


As over 400 immigrants landed on south coast beaches on Monday, July 19, Damien Collins, MP for Folkestone and Hythe, spoke in the House of Commons in support of the government’s new Nationality and Borders Bill.

He said: “For local residents living along the coast from Folkestone to Dungeness, it has become a fact of life that when the weather is good, and the sea calm, hundreds of undocumented asylum seekers will attempt to cross the Channel in small boats. We cannot allow this to continue.”

The Home Office confirmed that over 430 migrants landed in just 14 small boats, with dozens of them, including women and young children, landing at Dungeness. It is believed to be the highest number of migrants to land on UK shores in any single day.

An RNLI lifeboat had been monitoring the approaching vessels and Border Force and Kent Police were in attendance as they landed.

Some people have called for migrant boats to be intercepted at sea, but the Royal Navy and UK Border Force cannot patrol French waters without permission, and when the vessels cross into UK waters, under international maritime law they have a right to land at the nearest available port.

Mr Collins added: “It is clear we need to change the law to deter people from making these crossings and make it clear that illegal entry to the UK is not a shortcut to residency in this country.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel has this week agreed to pay France £54 million to stop migrants from reaching Britain. Beach patrols by French police will be doubled as the Home Secretary said: “The public are rightly angry, as this week’s arrivals brought the tally of migrants to have landed in Britain this year to 8,452, more than all of 2020.”

Image Credits: Rye News library .

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  1. Where are these migrant families are taken when they arrive on the beaches and can Rye news reporters document how they are…what provisions are being offered to them and in particular how the children are being treated?

  2. Can I add another question to the one raised by Susan Benn? In all the contentious exchanges on this issue in the media I have never seen one thing clarified about migrants from France:
    France is a safe and civilized country – with social security and employment opportunities at least equivalent to that of the United Kingdom (as far as I can tell).
    I assume that migrants can apply for asylum in France where they will be as welcome or unwelcome as they would be here. So why do migrants pay thousands of pounds to smugglers and take a risk in crossing the Channel which, depending on the season, can be a fairly low or a very high one (as some tragedies prove)? Could someone with more knowledge or even direct involvement explain this?

    • One reason that so many choose this country as a destination is simple; language. English is widely spoken as a second language in many parts of the world and so the UK is the logical country to aim for.

  3. It’s not illegal to seek asylum and these people are therefore not entering the country illegally. As someone whose family originally came to this country as refugees (running from Hitler) I take exception with the language and tone of this article which is simply parroting some unpleasant grandstanding politicians without offering a counterpoint. My family weren’t (and aren’t) referred to as “illegal” and I wonder whether it’s because we look ethnically white British?

    It’s fine to talk about (and have differing views on) immigration policy but let’s move away from the heated rhetoric (“crisis”, “illegal”, “public are rightly angry”) please.

    • You appear to be getting the issue confused. It may not be illegal to see asylum, but that is not the same as a person entering a country illegally. I presume you hold a passport ? A passport is identification which allows you to enter a different country to the one you were born or reside in. It is a legal requirement, just as a Driving License is identification and a legal requirement that allows you to be in charge of a vehicle. The people arriving on boats from foreign countries intentionally carry no ID so they are ‘anonymous’, and they are not entering the U.K. through the appropriate legal channels. Therefore, they are entering the U.K. illegally. What would be the point of passport and border control if we could all get on boats and step on the soil of any country that takes our fancy at whim? Further, passport and border control are there for a reason. It helps to catch criminals and other illegal activity.

      Historically many people have arrived in the U.K. as refugees, but I would presume at some point they have been documented and have become U.K. citizens and pay their taxes, etc, which therefore would make them being here legal. The colour of someone’s skin is irrelevant. I don’t believe British people look at someone who is not caucasian and presume they are in the U.K. illegally. That would be ridiculous.

  4. Why should it be a problem to let some hundred people come into UK when thousands of UK people immigrated without consent to Africa, suppressed the locals, exploited soil and humans? I think it is a human obligation to make it possible to let those who left their home make up for their living with an honest Christian spirit.
    As I was very sad to see UK leaving Europe I see that UK is more and more isolating itself like an autistic child.
    Nowadays companies are not just looking for brainy employees but also for people with the quality of being able to work in a team. Humanitarian ideas should not stop at borders.
    They should be practiced everywhere. I appreciate the antique Greek philosopher who knew no boundary and had humanitarian ideas that are appreciated by any person that calls him or herself civilised.
    What nasty difference it was when I had a stopover at Stansted Airport! So different to what I was used to the last 40 years of coming to that once loved country. Especially Rye in Sussex where very close people of mine live.
    I agree that some of the reasons for leaving Europe is due to some of the new memberstates and the mind boggling beaurocracy. But could that not be helped otherwise?
    Let’s work together – come on come on – as sung by Canned Heat

  5. My immediate reaction was that in a world in the midst of a global pandemic where millions are losing their lives, their well- being and their livelihoods, not to mention the looming climate change catastrophe, how can the arrival of a few hundred frightened and desperate people on our shores count as a crisis.

    This emotive language only serves to create a wholly unnecessary sense of fear. The hostile reaction from some sections of our society towards these people makes me ashamed of our government and its current lack of compassion and charity.

    I was, however, heartened to see the empathy and compassion shown by most of the other commentators to this article.

  6. I am sorry to see that, by implication, Judith Dean thinks that I lack empathy and compassion. My question was a purely factual one. I tried to frame it in such a way that the answer/s would help me better understand the situation, particularly in terms of the motives of the migrants themselves. The motives of many others involved are, perhaps, less puzzling. As I said before, I was hoping that someone better informed would be able to clarify things for me.

  7. 35,000 asylum seekers sought refuge in the U.K. last year.
    Germany accepted over one million, just from Syria.
    I Agree with Judith that the number applying is small by comparison with other countries and the number is exaggerated to appease a certain demographic in this country.

  8. having recently moved to this lovely, but very affluent area , having previously also lived in the South East but having my roots in a poor Midlands locality , I am always aware when people discuss illegal migration how little some people know of how , say the bottom 40% of the country live – and the negative effect on their lives of high levels of this form of migration. In particular, when migrants enter illegally, it is often people who migrated legally into the country in the previous couple of decades and working class people (of all colours, religions and races) who lose out. Remember many of these migrants will have paid thousands of pounds to come here , yet 50% of the UK population have less than £500 in savings. I wish people would visit say the 50 most deprived areas of the UK before discussing the situation. Incidentally at the beginning of the first lockdown I set up a group to provide cooked food for the homeless (it continues even though I have moved) but I am sure people will deride me for saying this – but it does need saying.

    • Digressing slightly… I think you will find Hastings and Rye are classed as deprived rather than affluent. The same applies to nearby areas of Kent

  9. Instead of the British government giving millions to the french government to police the beaches, set up a centre in Calais, and process these people in taking in their skills and what they can contribute to our country, and then let them in,instead of them giving their money to people smugglers, they are desperate to get to the uk, after passing other safe countries, and lets sort out the genuine ones, and give them a new life,as long as they are going to contribute to our country.

  10. Well said Marie Morton a realistic account.
    It’s all very well for the well healed to spout about empathy.
    Most migrant are just seeking a better life.
    Their huge sums of money would be better spent in Their own countries who would gain from the tenacity and drive they demonstrate in getting to uk.

  11. People are not, and cannot be, ‘illegal’. End of. Some people may be forced to take *irregular* routes on their perilous journeys. This does not make them ‘illegal’. This constant use of the term by both politicians and members of the public is not only incorrect but reinforces stereotypes about ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ victims. Asylum seekers *do not have to* seek asylum in the first country they arrive in. If they did all neighbouring countries would be overwhelmed. Read the 1951 Geneva Convention (of which the UK is a co-signatory).
    As for France being a ‘safe and civilised’ country, many refugees in camps there are subject to harassment and beatings by right-wing thugs and corrupt officers, the camps are often subject to looting, ransacking and even arson attacks. Ask yourself how safe you would feel living like that? Would you stay or would you try your luck crossing the water to what might look like a safer option?

    • The only way poorer people can get a reasonable life is with a democratic nation state – one of the main reasons poorer people voted for Brexit. We pay our taxes nationally (the Govt has no money of its own ) and the Govt allocates it to schools , NHS etc and redistributes it.
      which states :
      Top 1% of earners in UK account for more than a third of income tax following changes over the past decade that have left almost half the population exempt from making payments.

      In research underlining the dual nature of Britain’s income tax structure, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said above-inflation increases in the personal allowance to £12,500 a year meant 42% of adults paid no income tax.
      So, we cannot ask the top earners really to pay more tax – they will start to evade tax and middle income earners also will struggle (the private sector is in a much weaker place now than in 2019 ). Plus we have just spent 400 billion (not my choice – the Great Barrington Declaration would have been better)- every penny the Govt is spending now is borrowed. Global companies Amazon/ Facebook etc can just avoid tax.
      As every illegal migrant costs approx 30K each year (Google it) the money available for poorer people decreases. Remember these are richer people (actually most are young males ) from poor countries being allocated resources at the expense of poor people in rich countries.
      I know people born in this country who have lived on the streets/ in their cars or have been lucky! enough just to sofa surf. The network of people surrounding poor people are often poor themselves – only the state can help.
      However the way our society now works , politicians, academia, quangos, the law , the public sector is made up only of the top 50% of the wealth distribution -(rather like Glastonbury – who can afford it? – where there are huge barriers to keep the poor out – where the children of the rich (unlike me they will inherit eventually) can say they want open borders) – so they are not concerned about the homeless already living here.

  12. To respond to Terry’s question, there’s a legal principle of ‘first safe country’, that is an expectation that a refugee will claim asylum in the first country they enter which is safe. But there’s no legal obligation upon a refugee to stay put there. I guess one reason people from Africa, say, or the Middle East continue on the UK is bcs they speak English or have familial or community contacts here. Not bcs it’s necessarily perceived as a ‘soft touch’. That’s the legacy of history and cultural influence. Our involvement in Iraq, Syria, Libya etc is obviously also a factor in all this.

  13. I think we need to be careful to generalise in language whatever individuals ideology is, that everybody who comes here identifies as immigrant. Many are refugees escaping from violent countries, or disagreeing with the oppressive regime get killed imprisoned or threatened, some countries in which Britain interfered but did not shine.
    The West plundered in the past and while millions as aid are paid, poverty remains and it is not because Africans are lazy as someone suggested, it’s their government.
    Having visited kenya and beyond for 6 years to set up a school and a well with funds donated from generous Rye and London friends I know how it works.
    The question is not why are so many young people leaving their home country.
    The question should be why is government and all the big charities just handing over money instead of looking with the locals to decide where and how investments can be used, can progressive businesses go to the countries and ask the young how their life could be improved recognizing the cultural differences.
    It puzzles and angers me that after all these years there is no clean water hospital and school in every village. Money is wasted here on consultants, why dont some MPs form a group to look at the issues. I offered to volunteer to give gov a different perspective a d how better money could be used. I didn’t really expect an answer.

  14. In response to Nina: France is, by any standards, a safe and civilised country. The camps near the coast are not. But migrants decide to live there in order to cross the Channel rather than apply for asylum in France. Why they do this was the whole point of my original question!
    I made no comment on whether they should or should not stay in France. I merely wanted to understand their motives, which would seem to be an essential component of ’empathy and compassion’ – some of which, from the likes of ice cream manufacturers, look pretty hollow.
    So far, I am inclined to think that GH has provided at least a partial answer. Whether the UK is a ‘soft touch’ is another matter on which there are clearly strongly held views. The same could be said about whether the label of ‘refugee’ or ‘economic migrant’ is the most accurate description in particular cases.


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