Home Secretary Priti Patel, has ordered the Coast Guard to return boats of refugees crossing the channel to French waters, if safe. The method proposed isn’t realistic anyway.
The personnel are currently being trained in ‘turnaround actions’ at sea. These drills will be performed until the end of this month. The new deterrence method will then be put into operation as soon as possible.
Britain experiences a record number of illegal migrant inflow. More than 2700 migrants from France managed to cross the Channel this week alone. For this year the total score is 13,500.
A meeting with French authorities on Wednesday, to stop the migrants from crossing the Channel, yielded no results. The British plan was rejected by Patel’s French colleague Gérald Darmanin.
Forcing boats to turn around can lead to dangerous situations. According to Darmanin, the safety of people at sea is more important than ‘nationality, status and migration policy’. He also said that the continuation of the plan could have a negative impact on cooperation between the two countries. In the same time France does nothing to stop people from illegal crossing of the borders first of all, thus putting their life at risk. It’s perfectly understandable: France wants to get rid of them as soon as it’s possible. Will be they drowned or will reach the shores of England does not matter for the French. Everything else is just a demagoguery.
The French had previously agreed to double the number of border guards on the French side of the canal. Patel wanted to contribute 64 million euros to the costs. However it does not seem to work.
The British government says it must seize every opportunity to combat human trafficking – which means, translated to human-readable form, to send the migrants somewhere else. Therefore, several possibilities are being tried to stop small boats from making the dangerous journey. Channel is one of the busiest waterway in the whole World, and the small boats aren’t equipped with transponders, or have them turned off deliberately.
A spokesperson for the immigration, Coast Guard and customs union told that he would be very surprised if the method were ever to be used. “There are many limitations to what you can do with a ship that is vulnerable anyway.”
“More importantly, you need the consent of France. Because if you bring the vessel back across the border to France, it has to be intercepted and rescued by the French and it looks like France is simply not cooperating.”