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STEPHEN GLOVER: Why do we tell migrants not to come to the UK and then make it easier for them to stay?


Whenever significant numbers of migrants cross the English Channel, as is currently the case, government officials tend to use two arguments that reach me.

One is to blame the French for being found seedy and generally unhelpful. If only they kept an eye on the ball, fewer migrants would leave their coast for the UK.

The second answer is to get involved with the people smugglers who make rickety, often deadly vulnerable boats available for desperate people at extortionate costs.

Target these evil merchants in human misery and the problem will go away.

There is, of course, some truth in both points of view. The French authorities can be difficult and cumbersome.

A group of young children, women and a man sat on the coast in Dungeness, Kent last week

That was yesterday when Natacha Bouchart, Mayor of Calais, absurdly described Britain's plans to block the canal as a "declaration of war at sea".

No less ridiculous was Labour's suggestion that Home Secretary Priti Patel would be "sympathetic" to make such proposals. Why can't constructive ideas come up instead of carp?

And it is also true that people smugglers are indeed evil, although no one has yet found a way to get rid of them.

Also, some of the migrants crossing the Channel appear to be making their own arrangements.

What our politicians rarely do is ask if a large part of the problem is our own making.

There are idiotic inconsistencies in our policies so migrants are encouraged to come here while being told to stay away.

It is estimated that more than 4,000 have crossed the canal so far this year.

Consider it. It is said that currently only about one in 40 migrants who come illegally to the UK are sent back.

One of 40! Isn't this a strong incentive for such people to risk their arm?

If I were a young man from Iran or Syria, sitting in a godforsaken camp near Calais, I would no doubt take the risk of crossing the Channel, knowing that I could almost certainly stay in the UK, if I were intercepted by the authorities.

Last August, when significant numbers of migrants came across the Channel – even though they hadn't hit the record of 235 a week ago a day ago – Boris Johnson said to anyone hoping to enter the UK: “We will send you back. & # 39;

Migrants know that this is almost the exact opposite of the truth. You will almost certainly not be sent back.

According to the Interior Ministry, at least 1,900 people crossed the canal in small boats last year, while around 125 were returned to European countries.

That's roughly one in 15 who get deported and not one in 40 that I have quoted, but the chances of staying in the UK are still very good.

A group of migrants arrived on a ship and were picked up by Border Force patrols in Dover, Kent

A group of migrants arrived on a ship and were picked up by Border Force patrols in Dover, Kent

And don't just stay. An adult arriving in this country will receive £ 37.75 per week, accommodation and free NHS and hospital care.

Granted, most of us would struggle in such circumstances, but they are likely to be much cheaper than those in the often deprived countries that migrants have left behind.

Better than in France, where the rules on asylum seekers' access to health care were tightened in January.

They will only receive free health care if they have been resident for three months and have successfully applied for a Puma Health Card by establishing their right to reside in the country.

So why not take the risk and come here? Although migrants are not normally supposed to work while their cases are being examined, some in our dynamic black economy do.

This is much more difficult to achieve in France, where the authorities insist on correct documentation.

Although it pains me to endorse a French politician, Philippe Mignonet, deputy mayor of Calais, is on the money when he accuses the government of “hypocrisy” when “inconsistency” might be fairer.

Our position is to tell migrants that under no circumstances should they come here as their crossing of the canal is both illegal and dangerous. But if they show up in a boat a few miles from Dover we will do our best to accommodate and look after them.

Without a doubt, the French authorities could limit the number of migrants and possibly arrest a people smuggler on occasion if they try a little harder – and it seems the government will give them the £ 30 million they are asking for.

But the problem would remain – that is, despite the annoyance and puffing over the illegality, the UK government is actually hanging a banner over the white cliffs of Dover that says, "Migrants are welcome here."

May I suggest a solution? If the government believes that there are many bona fide asylum seekers in Calais – as is evidently the case because it grants such a high proportion of them asylum once they arrive on British soil – it should keep their applications calm and orderly Way check. In France.

Indeed, this is the most recent suggestion from Tony Smith, a former UK Border Force Director General. Only those who have been pre-approved are allowed to enter and stay in the UK.

I would go further. The government should punish those who ignore due process and try to enter the country illegally. Under the circumstances I planned, arriving as a migrant who did not submit an official asylum application would be an automatic disqualification for admission.

Migrants are being brought into the port of Dover this morning by Border Force officers

Migrants are being brought into the port of Dover this morning by Border Force officers

Some lawyers may howl with rage, claiming that such an agreement violates our obligations under the UN Convention on Refugees of 1951, which Britain is a party to.

The government was right to respond by doing everything in its power to set up an application process in France to take into account the claims of legitimate asylum seekers.

One advantage of such an approach is that migrants would not burden the UK taxpayer with examining their applications. Nor could they disappear into the black economy.

However, the benefits of such a system would not only be practical. It would be human too. Fewer migrants would attempt to cross the dangerous channel if they believed their claims were properly considered in Calais – and if they knew that showing up at Dover would result in their being sent back to France immediately.

Of course, the French government would have to agree to these new regulations and it is not certain that this will be the case.

What would happen to migrants who were not granted asylum in the UK? Would France deport them?

However, a resourceful new policy is overdue. Earlier this week, Boris Johnson called for a fresh look at laws making it "very, very difficult" to return migrants who have "apparently illegally" entered the UK.

He seems to have realized that his obligation a year ago to send them back cannot be fulfilled.

We can continue to criticize the French and point out the evil of the people smugglers. We can call the navy.

We can continue to offer a home to almost all migrants who appear on our shores.

Or, as a country whose government prides itself on being responsible for our borders after Brexit, we could try to wisely apply a problem that otherwise occurs again and again.