Migrant crisis: French MP says it’s ‘easier to be illegal in the UK’
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Rising numbers of migrants have crossed the English Channel in recent months with record numbers being reported in the past couple of months. In July, a £54m deal was agreed between the UK and France which would see the latter double the number of police patrols. The Home Secretary has threatened to withhold this money if people continue to flow into the UK at the current rate.
The UK is working “very effectively” with France to tackle rising numbers of migrant crossings across the Channel, the Government has said.
The Home Office said 11 boats with 364 migrants on board crossed the English Channel to reach Kent on Sunday.
French authorities stopped 16 boats which prevented 500 additional migrants from making the crossing.
On Friday and Saturday, 1,115 people cross the Channel using 40 boats.
Up until the end of September, 17,085 people had made the journey compared to 8,417 for the whole of last year, according to Home Office figures.
In September alone, some 3,879 migrants made the crossing.
The Home Office said almost 300 arrests and 65 convictions have been made related to small boat crossings so far in 2021.
The UK Government has promised to pay France £54m “within weeks” after Paris accused London of not handing over promised funds.
French interior minister Gerald Darmanin said “not one euro has been paid” of the sum pledged by Britain in July.
The money was promised in a bid to help France bolster security on the coast.
Home Secretary Priti Patel recently threatened to withhold funding unless more people were prevented from making the crossing to reach the UK.
Despite accusations to the opposite, the Home Office has denied any “political” motivation led to the delay in France receiving the money.
Security Minister Damian Hinds said the payments should be finalised in the “coming weeks”.
Mr Hinds added the delay in payment was a result of an “administrative process”.
Speaking on Monday, Mr Hinds said: “We are working closely with the French and I expect that question that you have raised to be finalised in the coming weeks.”
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Migrants crossing from France to the UK has been a long-standing issue for many years.
A total of 15,400 people attempted to cross in the first eight months of the years – which was an uplift of more than 50 percent on the figure for the whole of 2020 according to the French coast guard.
France stopped 65 percent of attempted crossings of illegal immigrants in the past three months, the French Interior Minister said.
He added France has taken steps to prevent illegal migrant crossings including hiring more gendarmes and purchasing more technological equipment.
Mr Darmanin said: “France has held the border for our British friends for over 20 years.”
He added France is “an ally of Britain” but “not it’s vassal”.
The French Interior Minister called on the EU and Britain to start negotiations for a migration treaty.
He said: “We need to negotiate a treaty, since Mr (Michel) Barnier did not do so when he negotiated Brexit, which binds us on migration issues.”
Mr Darmanin said he had received assurances from the director of the European border surveillance agency Frontex, showing it will be prepared by the end of the year to monitor the coastal area, notably through aerial surveillance.
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