UK, France Seek to Curb Channel Migrant Crossings
France and the United Kingdom (UK) have inked a deal to try to stop the widespread undocumented migration of asylum seekers across the channel by making the route unviable.
This after the two countries saw a significant uptick in the number of undocumented migrants in the UK, at 60% this year from 41% in 2019.
As part of the agreement, the two countries upped their patrols and technology in hopes of shutting off dangerous routes used by refugees to try to reach the UK using a small boat.
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel was quoted as saying in a report that the number of patrolling officers on beaches has doubled and new equipment such as radar and drones will be installed in ports where the refugees potentially arrive.
“Thanks to more police patrols on French beaches and enhanced intelligence sharing between our security and law enforcement agencies, we are already seeing fewer migrants leaving French beaches,” she said.
In addition, the two countries have also agreed on supporting migrants and providing them with appropriate accommodation to prevent them from joining criminal gangs, as well as on claiming asylum in a safe third country.
Refugees aside, both countries will increase border security at ports in northern and western France to reduce opportunities for smuggling and ensure that the illegal migration threat shifting towards freight traffic will be avoided.
This year alone, hundreds of refugees including children have been caught leaving makeshift camps in northern France for southern England, navigating one of the world’s busiest shipping routes in overloaded rubber dinghies. Some migrants and refugees have reportedly drowned.
The UK and France wanted to continue with the dialogues on a closed-door to reduce migratory pressures at the shared border during the next year.
According to Patel, French authorities have so far stopped at least 5,000 undocumented migrants this year, while during the last 10 years, Britain has given as much as 150 million pounds to France to tackle immigration.
The UK was also planning to craft a new asylum system through legislation next year.
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