I met earlier with the Immigration Minister Chris Philp to discuss the illegal crossings we’ve been seeing from Calais. I made clear to him the number of constituents who have raised this issue with me and the need for it to be addressed robustly.
I fail to see how any of the people coming over illegally are “asylum seekers”. France is a safe European country and the rule is that you apply for asylum in the first safe country you arrive. I would describe these individuals (who the Minister confirmed are mostly young men in their 20’s and 30’s) as economic migrants who have knowingly broken the law to get here.
The numbers coming across are significantly down on what they were last summer and last spring but I’m concerned that with the weather improving we may have a repeat of what we saw last summer. The Minister said he’s aware of this and that a plan is in place to address the issue over the coming months and that the Prime Minister places great importance on this.
Very soon the Government will be bringing forward a “Sovereign Borders Bill” that will dramatically change the asylum system in this country to make it a lot harder for illegal immigrants to stay in the country once they arrive here. No doubt this will be fought by the Labour Party every step of the way.
A key issue here is that those coming here illegally are actually taking up the capacity that could be filled by genuine asylum seekers who are following the correct process to go about claiming asylum here. Not to mention all the money that is going into the pockets of people traffickers.
Only a month ago I was heavily attacked by an Ipswich Labour councillor for condemning the criminal damage that illegal immigrants carried out at an army barracks in Kent (where they were being hosted). Another Labour councillor actually visited the camp in Calais presumably to encourage the crossings? (not sure what the purpose of the visit was other than virtue signalling).
This is a complex issue to solve, more complex than I thought, but it will be solved.