DOVER, England: The day after 27 people died trying to reach Britain in an inflatable dinghy, charities said the channel separating Britain from France would surely require more migrants who risk everything to escape war and poverty across the Middle East and Africa.
“If we do not see this as a catalyst for proper system change, this will continue to happen again and it will get worse,” said Kay Marsh, who works for the migrant charity Samphire in Dover, the UK’s gateway to Europe. “The deterrent does not work.”
Over the past decade, hundreds of thousands have slipped into the rich economies of Western Europe with the help of smugglers, fleeing conflicts, persecution and poverty on epic journeys from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Sudan and elsewhere. Few are welcome.
France and Britain exchanged debt on Thursday after the worst recorded accident of its kind in the canal. But just hours after the drowning, about 40 migrants made their way to Dover, to be abducted on a red double-decker by British border forces.
Neither the danger of the intersection nor the $ 2,500 per person that charities say the smugglers are taking up seems to deter them.
Campaigns say the UK should therefore allow asylum applications to be made outside the country.
“We must give people the opportunity to apply for asylum before they reach the British coasts: a treatment center in the north of France where people can claim asylum without having to make the crossing, and people with a legitimate claim to asylum can be brought here safely,” he said. Marsh.
So far this year, 25,776 migrants are known to have crossed the canal illegally, up from 8,461 in 2020 and 1,835 in 2019, according to data compiled by the BBC using data from the Home Office.
Enver Solomon, executive director of the Refugee Council’s charity, said: “The government needs to look at providing so-called safe routes, safe ways for people in search of safety to get to the UK.”
But Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said this would only encourage more people to embark on dangerous journeys:
“We have to deal with illegal migration upstream – and before people reach the French coast.”