A Refugee is not an Illegal Immigrant – and an Asylum Claim is a Human Right

The people of the UK must recognise the reality is that there are always people fleeing from ethnic, religious, political or sexual persecution – often in fear of their lives. In the modern world such people have a RIGHT to seek and apply for asylum from another country however they arrive.

“They” are not “escaping from France”. They have not applied to France for asylum or applied for residency in any EU country. They, like you and I, if we were in France are free to leave France. If they turn up in UK by ferry or plane or small boat or Eurostar they should be allowed in (as should you or me) or if they have a visa or other travel documents or are arriving under an international agreement (like an EU or US citizen).

But if this isn’t the case, they needn’t be let in, unless they can reasonably claim asylum (and of course they are all very likely to do this). If they do claim asylum then they should be detained until their claim is tested. And here we have the problem.

The UK government does not really want any people to come to the UK to work or settle heren except for very specific purposes, so they drag their feet on dealing with the problem.

1. No practical arrangement has been reached with the EU or with France to regularised this problem e.g. a British Immigration Office in Northern France

2. Both the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office need more resources – for far too long it has been starved of funds and staff. We don’t have enough people in Border Force, Coast Guard, Customs & Excise, the Police, the Prison Service, Immigration Tribunals etc. and so a backlog of asylum applications has built up. This suits the government who like to stoke popular fear to justify their campaign for restricting our human rights and the powers of the judiciary.

3. Meanwhile, people are continually disappearing out of the hotels and camps into which they’ve been placed at great expense, into modern slavery, prostitution, exploitation by organised crime and the so-called black economy. And in the Third World, families and whole villages are being impoverished by handing over what little they have to criminals, to send their young men to UK or the EU and who often die along the way.

4. We have always had the power to send back people with failed claims to stay, always had the power to deport foreign criminals, but this hasn’t been acted on because there would be some cost to persuade the receiving governments to co-operate.

5. One partial solution is to work with EU to suppress the criminals smuggling in economic migrants, but this again will cost money – and we have cut our overseas aid budget. Parallel with this would be a safe mechanism for legitimate and safe routes for asylum seekers – but we again begrudge the cost.

The problem we have is not really bigger that most of the countries in the developed world have, but we have magnified it by being unwilling to co-operate with other countries, unwilling to support developing countries through aid, unwilling to recognise our humanitarian and moral obligations to refugees – and by our government being all too willing to use the situation as a political weapon.