UK Home Office criticizes “ineffective” response to English Channel crossing immigrants

Two reports, released Wednesday and Thursday, criticized the Home Office for responding to the surge in illegal immigrants arriving in the UK on small boats.

Some say that the border army’s approach to prevent travel is “ineffective and perhaps counterproductive,” while the first treatment of arriving people is “ineffective and inefficient.” Said.

The report states that the Interior Ministry has improved initial processing performance, organized better vessels for search and rescue, turned boats where possible, swiftly removed illegal immigrants to third countries for processing, France. He recommended that the illegal immigrants who set sail should be returned. From the country.

according to Home office numbersThe number of people smuggled into the UK by small boats across the English Channel has skyrocketed in recent years to 8,466 in 2020, 1,843 in 2019 and 299 in 2018. In 2021, 28,526 people were detected.

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A group of suspected immigrants was brought to Dover, Kent, England, on a border force ship on July 18, 2022. (GarethFuller / PA Media)

By 2021, nearly 84% of all small boat arrivals were male, and nearly three-quarters were between the ages of 18 and 39.

Home office “fails” to set up a better system

David Neil, an independent chief inspector of borders and migrants, said in a report (pdf) The Ministry of Interior “refused” the transition from emergency response to establishing better systems and procedures, resulting in inadequate response to immigrants.

Neil’s report on the initial processing of the arrival of small boats to Dover was submitted to the Home Office on February 24, two days after Neil publicly stated that he was “more and more dissatisfied” with a delay in publication. It wasn’t announced until Thursday.

According to the report, the Home Office was unable to proactively identify and protect vulnerable people, and data collection was “mysteriously terrible.”

“The devices used to perform security checks are often first-generation and unreliable. Biometrics such as fingerprints and photography are not always recorded,” Neil said. Says.

According to Neil, the Interior Ministry told inspectors that between September 2021 and January 2022, 227 migrants fled the safe hotel.

During the five weeks from December 1, 2021 to January 7, 2022, 57 abstained, 38 of whom were not biometrically registered.

“Simply put, without a record of people coming to the country, we wouldn’t know who was being threatened or who was being threatened,” Neil said.

The report also said that part of the reason for the impaired identification process was that staff assumed that the arrival of small boats was likely to claim asylum and therefore did not want to hide from the Home Office.

According to the report, police officers “reported concerns about an excited girl who noticed that the man was accompanied,” and the six-year-old girl was found to be unaccompanied.

However, inspectors do not have the ability to proactively identify people with other vulnerabilities, such as children, single women, and victims of trafficking, but “before saying there was a problem. It depends mainly on the coming immigrants. “

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Dateless photo of immigrants landing in Dover, England. (Gareth Fuller / PA Media)

However, the lack of translators meant that communication was restricted, including the purpose of collecting basic information such as name and age.

Between September 1st and December 27th, 2021, about 90% of small boat arrivals were male, according to Home Office data quoted in the report. More than one in five (22.5 percent) are under the age of 18, and most are teenagers over the age of 15.

Neil said the workforce was “responsive and humble with a very indomitable spirit and extraordinary personal commitment,” but “lacked effective and visible leadership.” ..

He said that an important obstacle to addressing the challenge was that the Home Office continued to consider channels across “emergency situations” rather than new standards, meaning that the department was “always in a responsive state.” He said.

Neal has made four recommendations regarding security, vulnerabilities, information, and resources.

In Interior Ministry Response The ministry, published with the report, said it has changed the process since the inspections were conducted in December 2021 and January 2022. “Most of this report is of a historic character today. Yes, the criticisms identified reflect the process and new operations do not currently follow the procedure. “

“Consume” by the intersection of small boats

In another review (pdfAlexander Downer, a former Australian Foreign Minister of the British Border Force, said the Border Force’s Maritime Command was “unequipped” to address the “consumer everything” challenge.

“The size and capacity of the border forces’ maritime command preceded the escalation at the intersection of small boats, and missions in the strait now consume almost all resources available to the command and others. Operational activities are only exceptional, “the review said. ..

“Further dissatisfaction is that officers from elsewhere have been drafted into maritime command, which undermines other important activities that should take place at ports across the country, in order to maintain border operations in the English Channel. The channel’s current resource requirements are not sustainable. “

The small boats that carry migrants are flimsy and overloaded, so they are all considered “suffering ships”.

As a result, border forces “effectively rescue people and then escort them to the harbor, allowing them to enter Britain,” Downer said. “It’s no wonder people are worried about this issue.”

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In the dateless photo, a boat warehouse facility used by suspected immigrants in Dover, Kent. According to the National Crime Agency, traffickers have devised a European-wide strategy to smuggle migrants across channels with dinghy to the United Kingdom. (Gareth Fuller / PA)

After the Home Office sought help, the Royal Navy took over the strait’s operational command, but the ministry’s vessels were not designed for search and rescue.

Downer said in his recommendation that the Home Office should contract vessels more suitable for its mission and place them under the command and control of the Coast Guard or the Royal Navy. He also said he was pleased that such a plan had already been developed.

To prevent migrants from making dangerous and unnecessary trips from France, Downer said the British government “contracted ships and expert crew.”

The Interior Ministry had previously said it was considering pushing the boat back to the French side of the waterway, but abandoned the plan prior to a judicial review of the policy.

Downer had a similar experience in Australia. He recommended that Britain move quickly to a third country to handle illegal arrivals.

“The eligibility for removal should include all cohorts of people who enter the UK illegally,” he added.

Downer also recommended that Britain reach an agreement with France to return the arrival of small boats.

With the UK withdrawing from the European Union, the Dublin Regulation, which allows EU countries to return asylum seekers to the EU countries where they first arrived, no longer applies to the UK. As a result, few people succeeded in returning illegal immigrants. Efforts to sign a new bilateral agreement with France have so far been unsuccessful.

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British Home Secretary Priti Patel will address a joint news conference with Rwanda’s Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta after signing a partnership agreement in Kigali, Rwanda on April 14, 2022. (Jean Vizimana / Reuters)

The Interior Ministry planned to send illegal immigrants to Rwanda after signing an agreement with a country in East Africa in April, but the first because immigrant lawyers sought intervention in British and European Courts of Human Rights. The charter flight has been cancelled.

Prior to signing the Rwandan Agreement, the British government talked about plans for third-country treatment of asylum seekers. However, the arrangement announced in April was for the Rwandan government to handle migrants and provide them with asylum or other opportunities for domestic stay.

Lily Chow


Lily Zhou is a freelance writer who mainly covers the British news of The Epoch Times.