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The Calais crisis can’t be solved The migrant tragedy started well before Brexit

A migrant carries her children after being rescued while crossing the English Channel. Credit: BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

A migrant carries her children after being rescued while crossing the English Channel. Credit: BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images


November 26, 2021   7 mins

On Wednesday afternoon at about 2pm, a long, narrow inflatable boat, designed for calm lakes or quiet rivers, sank ten miles off the coast of France. The craft, supposed to carry half a dozen people, was transporting as many as 50 asylum-seekers — mostly Iraqi or Iranian Kurds, people of the mountains and the desert.

The boat was heading vaguely north-west towards the English coast, crossing one of the busiest and most treacherous seaways in the world. The sea was calm; the weather fine but very cold.

French coast-guards believe that this strange craft — like a child’s trike on a motorway — was either run down or overwhelmed by the wake of a freighter about one hour after leaving a beach near Dunkirk. There were 27 bodies recovered from the sea, including 17 men, seven women and three teenagers. One of the drowned women was pregnant. Two men were rescued. At least another 20 people may have drowned.

Even the provisional death toll makes this the greatest single calamity since the so-called “Calais migrants” started to climb aboard small boats to try to reach England in 2018. Yet the story of the Calais migrants goes back not three years, but almost three decades. I have been writing about them for 24 of those years.

When the Calais saga began, in the early Nineties, the migrants were mostly Bosnian refugees from the Yugoslav civil war. They were followed by Iraqis, Kurds, Pakistanis, Afghans, Eritreans, Syrians, Somalis — the human flotsam of successive crises or wars in Europe, Asia and Africa, washing up against the English Channel.

It is a complex story which is habitually simplified by British politicians and some in the British media. France’s record is not unblemished, but that has nothing to do with the cunning Gallic cynicism of British media myth. I made up my mind years ago about who was responsible for the never-ending Calais crisis. We all are. No one is. Everyone is partly right; everyone is partly wrong.

The migrants, or asylum seekers, have good reason to go in search of new lives, whether they are genuine refugees or (as the British government and press insist) merely illegal, economic migrants. Britain, of course, has good reason to want to maintain control over its own borders. It is absurd to suggest, as some volunteer groups do, that all who arrive should be admitted. But the French — notably the people of the Pas de Calais — also have good reason to believe that they have been troubled for three decades by what is, ultimately, a British problem.

The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, presents the events in a simpler way. The fact that 27 people drowned is a tragedy but it is mostly the fault of the French, he said. The British popular media is even more convinced where the guilt lies. “This is on you, Macron,” was the splash headline on MailOnline yesterday. If the website wants to increase, rather than reduce, the trickle of migrants now reaching Britain from France (and it is a trickle not a flood), the best way of doing so would be to carry on insulting and angering the French.

The Calais crisis can only be managed. It cannot be solved. And like it or not, it can only be managed with the help of France. For the past 18 years, Britain has been sheltered from the full force of the successive waves of migration reaching Europe by two barriers. The first was the French government and the French police. The second was the English Channel.

In 2003, President Jacques Chirac signed a treaty with then Prime Minister Tony Blair at Le Touquet, just south of Calais, which in effect moved the south-eastern English border to France. All passport checks were moved to the French side of the Channel. France agreed to accept British cash to toughen its defences against illegal migration to England (mostly stowaways on trucks and freight trains). As a result, migrants wanting to claim asylum in Britain (as is their right under international law) could not do so because they could not reach British soil.

The second barrier — the English Channel — stood more or less unchallenged for years because the migrants were scared of the sea. That terror lasted while large chinks remained in the Franco-British border controls, the Calais port and the Channel tunnel fences. Gradually those chinks have been identified and closed.

This is not mentioned by the British popular media or the Government but the number of migrants reaching Britain — mostly from France — is not increasing. The opposite is true. There were 80,000 in 2002. That fell to 18,000 in 2010. There were 29,000 in 2020, after the boat traffic began.

The Calais migrants started to overcome their fear of the sea in 2018 because they had to. Other ways of reaching England had been closed off, mostly by the diligence of the French. Once the migrants overcame their terror of the sea, yesterday’s tragedy became inevitable. Of course, the people smuggling gangs are partly to blame. They exist because other methods of crossing the 30km of sea between Pas de Calais and Kent have been hammered shut. In sum, blaming France or President Emmanuel Macron for what happened on Wednesday is as foolish as blaming the water in the Channel.

That isn’t to say that France doesn’t deserve its share of the blame for the muddled policies of the last 30 or so years. But France has, in effect, been protecting Britain from even a small amount of migration, at Britain’s request. If Paris now chose to end that policy — to repudiate the Treaty of Le Touquet as many French politicians are demanding — Britain would face the full force of Europe’s wider migration crisis for the first time.

That would also cause problems for France. But they wouldn’t be nearly as serious as those in Britain: the makeshift camps of migrants would move from Calais to Folkestone and Dover. Presumably neither Boris Johnson nor MailOnline would welcome such an outcome.

I know what the objections to my narrative will be: why should Britain take any illegal migrants? If these people are seeking asylum from persecution or war, why do they not do so in France? Why are the French authorities incapable of stopping something so obvious as a small inflatable boat with 50 people aboard from setting sail from Loon Plage near Dunkirk? Surely this is all about Brexit and France wanting to punish Britain?

I have spoken over the years to dozens of migrants, to senior French officials, to senior British officials, to humanitarian volunteers. I have witnessed the opening of Sangatte refugee camp in 1998; its closure at Britain’s insistence in 2002; the clearing of “the Jungle” , a squalid informal in the dunes and scrubland north of Calais, in 2009; the creation of a semi-official replacement called “Jungle 2”; its bulldozing by the French government in 2014. Most of the questions above have existed from the beginning. This “crisis” began long before Brexit.

The British media in recent days has shown images of French police standing aside while migrants set off in flimsy boats towards England. The French authorities have yet to explain these pictures. I expect some French police are less than zealous when confronted with large groups of migrants. But to suggest that it is official or unofficial French policy to let migrants cross is false. If that were the case, why have all other safer, illegal routes been so successfully closed? If that were the case, why do French police clamp down so brutally on migrant encampments, confiscating tents and even sleeping bags?

In my experience, the policy and practices of successive French governments on the Calais migrant crisis have been muddled and unpredictable. France has alternated between crackdowns (after Britain complains), and compassion (when human rights groups point out excesses). Taken as a whole, however. France has been guarding Britain’s border, with a large degree of success and a growing amount of exasperation.

It is impossible for the French to police every metre of the 100km of the Pas de Calais and Nord coastline without immense resources. French officials day that 60% of attempted crossings are stopped. Britain offered to give an extra £54m in July, but has so far handed over only £20m. French officials reckon it already costs them €120m a year to “police Britain’s frontier” of which Westminster covers only about 20%.

Meanwhile, serious efforts have been made to secure small boats and to prevent the sale of inflatable craft in shops in the Calais area. But shops in Belgium are only a short drive away. The “boat” which sank on Wednesday is believed to have been bought in Germany.

Yet parts of the British media accuse the French of encouraging asylum-seekers to try their luck in Britain, instead of France. This is nonsense. In 2020, France dealt with 80,000 asylum applications and the EU as a whole 416,000. The UK dealt with 29,000. The great majority of the people who illegally (and invisibly) cross French land borders every day are people who speak a little French and have family or contacts in France. They want to stay in France.

A minority, the Calais migrants, come to France because they want to reach the UK. A very small minority of this minority are people who have had asylum requests turned down in EU countries. When their camps are cleared by French police, they are offered a chance to go to a holding centre many kilometres away and apply for asylum in France. All but a handful refuse.

Why are they so determined to go to Britain? Because they speak a little English; or they have connections in the UK; or they have been persuaded that the UK, without ID cards, is an El Dorado for migrants.

I have spoken to many migrants over the years. One sticks in my mind. Adamkhan was 34. He had been a maths teacher in a primary school in Peshwar in Pakistan. He fled after he was threatened by the Taliban for promoting “western education”.

When I spoke to him at a squalid camp near Calais port in 2014, he was walking with a crutch after injuring his leg fleeing from police while trying to board a lorry. He said: “Most of the immigrants here… want to go to England because they speak a little English and because they think they can work there.”

“I know the UK is a crowded island and no one wants us. I know the French authorities have a very difficult job. Conditions in these camps are inhuman. But what is the solution?”

There is none. European countries can improve their external border protection, but many migrants will still get through. A small percentage of them will always try to go to Britain.

More from this author
The Calais crisis can't be solved

By John Lichfield

But there can be better management of the crisis. The French can, perhaps, try harder to block the beaches. Britain could agree to process some asylum requests on the French side of the Channel. But Boris Johnson’s suggested solution — British police on the French beaches — could never be accepted and would not work.

The Calais crisis cannot be solved in Calais because it is not a Calais problem. It is a small part of a European, or global, problem of displacement of peoples by war or famine or misery.

The danger, from a UK viewpoint, is that the problem will grow much worse. There is already a rising drumbeat in France — on show in the speeches of candidates in April’s presidential election and in the well-argued columns of Le Monde — which calls for a repudiation of the Treaty of Le Touquet.

France, the critics say, is complicit in a situation which is legally doubtful under international law: Britain has an international obligation at least to consider asylum requests — and France is preventing asylum-seekers from even reaching Britain to make them.

The more the British government and the British media insults France, the more that drumbeat will grow. Further calamities in the Channel could make the pressure irresistible. Lifting the barriers would not be an easy decision for the French government. It would be portrayed in Britain as an act of war. It might attract even more migrants to the Pas de Calais.

Whatever happens, there is one certainty: the present situation — Britain relying on France while insulting the French — is untenable.


John Lichfield was Paris correspondent of The Independent for 20 years. Half-English and half-Belgian, he was born in Stoke-on-Trent and lives in Normandy.

john_lichfield

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Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

3 to 7 billion population growth in 50 years, most of it in the 3rd world thanks to modern development, medicine and money. Capable of swamping our little island, and our continent, at a stroke. I am honestly past caring about any of them. I care about my people and my country more. Our ancestors fought for centuries and went through hell to give us the society we have, the migrants should do the same. The fact they choose not to and prefer to maintain their despicable regressive, religious, tribal cultures tells me a lot about their mentality. They collectively bring nothing good to the West, just more cultural strife, overcrowding and cost and we don’t owe them anything. I’m sick of it. I’d go beyond draconian if it were up to me.
The writer is correct about the French, however if the EUs borders weren’t so leaky and if the EU sent migrants back immediately instead of letting them all in and giving them money and passports, they wouldn’t get as far as France either. The concept of asylum has gone way beyond its original purpose; temporary shelter in a safe neighbouring country when your country is at war. If asylum were a more clearly and narrowly defined temporary arrangement, no citizenship available, no chain migration, with quick, unchallengeable deportation, then I would accept it more. But it has become a pick and mix free for all, with permanence, available to anyone who ‘wants a better life’. Once you’re in you’re in. Even if you rape or murder someone the lawyers will help you stay. It’s so wrong it makes me furious.

Hersch Schneider
HS
Hersch Schneider
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

100%

Clara B
Clara B
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

I wish I could disagree with you, I’d love for you to be wrong, but I know you are 100% right.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
ER
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Absolutely agree.
Also, it was not a tragedy.
Unless our politicians get a grip and quickly they should all be place in leaking rubber dinghies and abandoned mid channel

Last edited 2 years ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Iris C
IC
Iris C
2 years ago

I can’t believe anyone could think such a thing, let alone write it!
This is a good article – gives no solution but opens the debate/ There may be educated migrants who could be of benefit to our economy. Perhaps a holding facility to investigate this (as proposed by the government) is one way forward

Paul Smithson
PO
Paul Smithson
2 years ago
Reply to  Iris C

We should welcome such people with open arms, but only if they go through the proper channels. I’m all for global movement as it brings many benefits, but it has to be organised and fair, and strict quotas have to be set and stuck to otherwise it becomes a free-for-all.

Ellen Olenska
Ellen Olenska
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

What benefits, specifically?

Paul Smithson
PO
Paul Smithson
2 years ago
Reply to  Ellen Olenska

Cultural variety. Skill sets that we are lacking, etc.

Bruno Lucy
BL
Bruno Lucy
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

You mean like a Pakistani math teacher……sure thing….the UK has a great need of those…..Who are you kidding ?

Ann Ceely
AC
Ann Ceely
2 years ago
Reply to  Bruno Lucy

I’m sure there are some hugely proficiant mathematicians who got thrown out of their country!

JP Martin
JP Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Iris C

This is a fantasy because we have no way to do effective triage among these arrivals. We cannot even distinguish the sheep from the wolves based on education. The research by the World Bank, for instance, showed that recruits to ISIS/Daesh tended to have higher levels of education and wealth.

Hugh Marcus
Hugh Marcus
2 years ago
Reply to  Iris C

The problem with a ‘holding facility’ is that due to bureaucracy, it will soon become one of those ineffective bursting at the seams problem places, with the media baying for it to be closed down.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  Iris C

That shows how far you are removed from reality and that vacuous by a coke and teach the world to sing useful idiots are the problem.
First, the people concerned are fleeing persecution. They are travelling from France.
Second, they are not trying to get to the UK because they love the British. They are coming for the free stuff and because the regime is soft. They are not in the least bit grateful and believe they are entitled.
Third, it is either delusional or dishonest to suggest there may be educated migrants who could be of benefit to our economy. They will be nothing but a burden, particularly those that chose to arrive this way. In the UK an individual needs to earn £48K pa before he or she is a net contributor to the economy, and that is before dependents are taken into account. As a country we have been living way beyond our means and the last thing we need is more net takers.
Fourth, on a related point, the infrastructure and services are under immense pressure. In particular, pressure on housing stock is pricing our children out of the market and even renting is unaffordable. Simultaneously, migrant labour keeps wages and living standards down.
Fifth, the people concerned, are no different from the people from whom they are allegedly fleeing. They do not want out western values or culture. All they seek to do is turn this country into a facsimile of the place from which they are allegedly escaping, just with a benefits system.
Sixth, those of them who do not hate an despise us already will soon either learn or be taught to do so. Look at the celebrating when a UK city become or moves towards becoming minority white, how BLM serves as a justification for anti-white rhetoric and even violence, how minorities are not challenged about racist abuse, the reluctance of the authorities to enforce the law against racial minorities and the way that the MSM plays down the race angle when the perpetrator is from an ethnic minority and plays up the race angle when the perpetrator is white.
Seventh, tragedy is a much over used word. If the figures are to believed tends of people will die of Covid today and that will not be a tragedy either. So what is it about this episode that makes it a tragedy?

Ann Ceely
Ann Ceely
2 years ago
Reply to  Iris C

Any educated illegal immigrants will be unwanted – we want folk who obey the law!

Robin P
Robin P
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

I think it is important to distinguish between migration and migrants. Migration is very harmful. But not all migrants are as contemptible as you stereotypingly make out. How about, for instance Ayaan Hirsi Ali? Or Brigitte Gabriel. Numerous migrants have been very kind to myself, not least the dentist el-Essawy who was persecuted by scum for his honest dentistry and had to go back to Egypt.
It’s important not to let the Far Globalist greedists drive you into becoming a Far over-reactor yourself. Cheers.

Mike Bell
MB
Mike Bell
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

You say “Our ancestors fought for centuries and went through hell to give us the society we have, the migrants should do the same.” 
This is an important point.
I don’t think we are sufficiently aware in the UK of what it is that is so attractive to migrants.
If we understood the ways we are wonderful, perhaps we could give advice on how they could be wonderful too.
We could set up enclaves in their own countries which we ran like the UK – so they could benefit at home? Ooops. Oh No! That would be condescending, colonialism.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike Bell

I think if you gave them a referendum many countries vote to bring it back

Colin Elliott
CE
Colin Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike Bell

Those who rule or misrule the countries from which they come would clearly not welcome such a thing, and of course, it’s probably impossible. It was difficult enough at a time when the world was different – we had faith in our morals and abilities, communication between, say, London and a place far away would be limited and take a very long time, and the aspirations of such people weren’t based on their desire for the trappings of civilisation brought to them by television and smartphones. Finally, however mistakenly, we accepted it as a good thing, but we no longer have that motive.

Warren T
WT
Warren T
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike Bell

Well said. But unlike most of the legitimate migrants in past decades, it certainly appears that these new “migrants” are merely seeking free stuff more than anything else. How else to explain their unwillingness to assimilate into the host culture, or even worse, not even attempt to learn the language?

Ellen Olenska
EO
Ellen Olenska
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Asylum laws need to be changed – in Europe and in the U.S. And deportation has to be routine.

Hugh Marcus
HM
Hugh Marcus
2 years ago
Reply to  Ellen Olenska

Unless of course, they have a white face & speak English. But then they wouldn’t be a migrant, just an ex pat.

D Glover
DG
D Glover
2 years ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

If an Englishman wants to migrate to the US or Australia he has some hoops to jump through. Education and skills? Criminal record? Health? Enough money to support self without recourse to state benefits?
Then he might be allowed to stay. Deportation is routine for those who aren’t wanted.

Frederick B
FD
Frederick B
2 years ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

I would certainly favour the immigration of persons of largely British descent – Americans, Australians, Canadians, New Zealanders, South Africans – because they are our own people. This has been rightly described as “homecoming” rather than immigration. Otherwise – zero.

Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
2 years ago
Reply to  Frederick B

300 000 French people in London alone…….let’s put them on a dinghy and send them home ??

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

How utterly misguided your answer is. I would agree with you, however, if these migrants were willing to assimilate into the host culture, learn the language and become productive citizens. It appears that only a small percentage of them attempt this.
An American citizen, with substantial financial resources, would still have an extensive process to become a citizen in most Euro countries. The reverse is true. Switzerland even requires any potential migrant to demonstrate proficiency with one of their languages. Imagine that?!

Hugh Marcus
Hugh Marcus
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

An absurd comment written from the privilege of a rich western country. Seriously? Had you ever considered for a moment what it must take for someone who’s probably never travelled more than a few miles in their life, to get up & leave the only place they’ve known & travel hundreds, if not thousands of miles risking death most of the way.
Try putting yourself in their shoes.

D Glover
D Glover
2 years ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

‘Hundreds, if not thousands, of miles’
So why don’t they stop in the first safe country they pass through? Why don’t they stop in a muslim-majority country where they will fit in? Why do they have to reach England before they feel that they have travelled far enough?

Alan Osband
AO
Alan Osband
2 years ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

Getting on a plane from Iraq to Belarus and then taken by coach to the border with Poland . Thankfully ( thanks to the Poles ) at that point it gets somewhat more difficult , Seriously !
They are mostly far from the poorest in the countries they come from , often pay thousands to people traffickers because they know western countries are full of empathy fools

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

More lunacy with your answer. Why is it that Western civilization is the ONLY civilization that is required to apologize for what our ancestors created?
We are told by the woke left that we are to revere every other depraved, corrupted, filthy, lawless society but our own. I am done with that claptrap!
It is time for the West to stand up and defend why so many on this planet want to be on our shores and risk their lives to flee their home hell hole.

Richard Calhoun
Richard Calhoun
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

But of course we citizens of the UK come from generations of invaders and immigrants fleeing persecution … we are not the Britons of old but a hotch potch of nationalities who have produced the nation of people we are ,,, constantly evolving and producing a stable political entity that keeps our freedoms

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago

This is in fact untruth peddled for obvious reasons
The genetic make up of the UK population changed more in the period between the 1948 and 2012 Olympics than in the previous 6000 years.
We make have occasionally had a new ruling class imposed on us but the native population has remained unchanged to a remarkable degree.

Frederick B
FD
Frederick B
2 years ago

Nonsense. We are compounded from the populations which dwelt in ancient times around the North Sea, evolving our particular identity – our ethnicity- in semi isolation. After the 11th century almost nothing was added to that compound until the fateful, and fatal, arrival of the SS Windrush in 1948.

Matthew Powell
MP
Matthew Powell
2 years ago

If you pass through or bye pass a safe country, then you have forfeited your right to asylum and are an economic migrant. Western aid and commerce should be entirely provisional on countries enforcing border laws. Until measures like this are put in place, nothing will change.

Of course, the reason why this won’t happen, is because the current system allows politicians to talk tough on immigration, whilst welcoming in tens of thousands of extra migrants a year to sustain the exploitation of cheap labour, the virtue signalling middle classes have become dependant on. They are as much human traffickers as the gangs which operate in Calais.

JP Martin
JM
JP Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

They think they are getting “cheap labour” but they are mostly importing welfare scroungers. These policies are financially ruinous.

Robin P
Robin P
2 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

“These policies are financially ruinous.”
Not for the property owners whose UNEARNED income shoots up thanks to the overpopulation increasing housing demand. THAT is the real driver behind this nasty hypocrisy.

Hugh Marcus
Hugh Marcus
2 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

I beg to disagree. If you carefully check the welfare regulations you’ll find most don’t qualify for anything.

JP Martin
JM
JP Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

In most cases, asylum seekers cannot enter paid employment while their claims are under evaluation so they are automatically forced onto government assistance. Many, to their credit, would rather work and get on with their lives. Many do, in fact, work and get paid under the table.

Galeti Tavas
VS
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

“whilst welcoming in tens of thousands of extra migrants a year to sustain the exploitation of cheap labour,”

The most EXPENCIVE Labour in the World is ‘Cheap Labour’!

This is a fact. The social costs of cheap labour, and of the unskilled migrant who is cheap labour, is much higer than getting in qualified labour and paying the real costs of it.

JP Martin
JM
JP Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Very expensive. The government of Denmark has released some very illuminating numbers on the cost of ‘non-Western’ (their term) immigration. If I remember correctly, the net annual cost was over €4 billion.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
2 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

So where do our “bleeding-hearts” get their ‘net benefit’ figures from? Do they just consider the first “asylum-seeker” and disregard all the state benefits paid to the parents, aunts and uncles, etc? [personal rant] It pizzes me off that any of these dependent relatives are of pensional age they get a bigger state pension than ME because I have a private pension which puts me (just) over the appropriate limit for extra monies and: a). I have, like you, paid into the system all my working life. b). still pay income tax which all of these old ‘incomers’ never will.

Robin P
RC
Robin P
2 years ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

“So where do our “bleeding-hearts” get their ‘net benefit’ figures from?”
Dear Doug, there’s a concept commonly referred to as “lying”. I recommend learning about it sooner rather than later…..

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

The net benefit argument comes from the increased GDP a larger population inevitably brings as more workers means a higher total output, however it’s a misleading argument.
A country of 10 million minimum wage workers is going to have a higher GDP than a country of 1 million paying the top rate of tax, however the standard of living (and GDP per capita) will be much higher in the second country than the first

Frederick B
Frederick B
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

The cheapest labour is slave labour. Just look at what that has cost the US over the past 160 years – and I don’t just mean money!

Kate Heusser
Kate Heusser
2 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

Asylum seekers can’t work in the UK. That’s part of our asylum ‘system’.
illegal immigrants who don’t claim asylum DO work in the UK – in illegal jobs that contribute nothing to the Treasury but plenty to the criminal fraternity.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

“I have spoken to many migrants over the years. One sticks in my mind. Adamkhan was 34. He had been a maths teacher in a primary school in Peshwar in Pakistan.

Maybe you need to talk to the migrant guy in UK who set his wife on fire for her wanting to become more British.

I was in Pershwar, wild place, very photogenic lands and people – but you do not want them moving to London because they wish to. If they have to flee their own lands because of themselves it is not a good recommendation.

Anyway – 50 deaths, really, so what? It is your ilk who caused it – by letting the millions who broke the law entering – stay. I would say the percent of illegal migrants who stay typically are a net cost no matter how forward you collect the data.

8th level of hell is where Dante had the ‘Panderers and Seducers’ and that is what the ones who allow the illegals to stay are, they draw in more. Also outsourcing your Immigration Policy to Criminal People Smuggling Cartels, like is done, has been done for decades, is insane. You Liberals may love the unfortunate, but you hate your own people it would appear.

Hersch Schneider
Hersch Schneider
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Sums up the typical Guardianista here, and Democrat ‘progressive’ over the pond- they love and celebrate the ‘other’, particular anyone of darker skin tone, and they quite openly hate their own culture, they don’t even hide it anymore.

Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
2 years ago

They do celebrate the other, but if too many of the ‘other’ should move into their neighbourhood then they will move. They’ll deny utright that they’re moving for that reason, but it is true nonetheless.

And the bleeding hearted Guardian readers who phone call-in shows always seem to live in towns and cities with a below average nmber of ‘others’ like Bath or Harrogate. Why is that?

JP Martin
JM
JP Martin
2 years ago

The author will blame absolutely everyone except the migrants who assumed this risk themselves.

Mirax Path
MP
Mirax Path
2 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

He thinks they are victims.

JP Martin
JM
JP Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Mirax Path

If we did the same, people would condemn our recklessness and demand that we reimburse the Coast Guard for the cost of our rescue.

Richard Calhoun
RC
Richard Calhoun
2 years ago
Reply to  Mirax Path

They are of course the victims, victims of their own corrupt govts and societies but also the West facilitating this corruption by shovelling in shed loads of aid for decades which has caused and facilitated that corruption

Mirax Path
Mirax Path
2 years ago

You must have means to pay the people smugglers – these people arent the poorest in their societies, the opposite in fact. Then there are chancers like the young men from Pakistan or Bangladesh joining the free for all “asylum” process. How are these countries any worse than Cambodia or Nepal? Where the the migrants from those countries?

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
2 years ago
Reply to  Mirax Path

Smugglers paid by families knowing that once one male is in, chain migration insures entrance to the rest.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
2 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

From 1997 to 2005 BBC World service put out a soap Westway set around a community centre for migrants 100 yards from my flat under the flyover in North Kensington ,which was pure propaganda to upsticks and move to the UK .
Hardly surprising 3 of the 4 Isis ‘beetles’ turned out to be denizens ofLadbroke Grove Nottinghill Gate.

Last edited 2 years ago by Alan Osband
Peter Francis
Peter Francis
2 years ago

So Adamkhan from Pakistan trying to get to the UK, because he was threatened “by the Taliban”. The example sums up what is wrong with the asylum process. His claim for asylum consists of an uncheckable sob story and, anyway, he could have moved to another part of Pakistan.
The title says the “crisis cannot be solved”. The simple solution is to ramp up the deportation process by making it lawyer-proof. Once potential migrants see this, they will be less inclined to give it a try. Countries refusing to cooperate lose their foreign aid.

Robin P
Robin P
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

When I was corruptly made homeless by (fellow-) pale-skinned nasty lying scum, I had to share a sort-of-house for three months with an Afghan refugee. You could not find a kinder person anywhere. The migration policy is evil. But let’s not stereotype all the immigrants as an enemy horde of scums. That way would lie a very unpleasant future for our country.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Robin P

Check out the million strong Rohinga Refugee Camp in Bangladesh, the problem is not solveable.

I had lots of interaction with Afghanis, never a bad one, but I saw how a collective of them managed their country, and it did not indicate they would make migrants who would build Britain up.

Terry Needham
Terry Needham
2 years ago

Let us cut to the chase here. John Litchfield is ideologically committed to the idea of a borderless world. He therefore, conveniently, assures us that no other policy is viable. The rest is just padding.

Last edited 2 years ago by Terry Needham
Graeme Laws
GL
Graeme Laws
2 years ago

The author asserts that anyone who can get here can claim asylum. He is not troubled by the numbers. Like many others, he will not of course answer the question “how many would be too many?” This country is overcrowded. Our housing is under pressure. Our health service is under pressure. Our roads are congested. Our primary schools are coping with classes in which hardly any child speaks English. We are nowhere near the top ten richest countries measured by GDP per head. We cannot conceivably offer ‘safe haven’ to everyone who would like to come here.

We need a civilised immigration policy. To make that work, we cannot allow people who arrive illegally to acquire a right to anything beyond food and shelter and a ticket home. If such a policy is in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights, then we should withdraw from the convention. We should withdraw anyway, to highlight the fact that Russia and Turkey are both signatories with, shall we say, highly individualistic interpretations of the text.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
2 years ago
Reply to  Graeme Laws

I suspect this is coming, and someone is working on a “green paper” that outlines what will replace the ECHR obligations with something fair and reasonable.

Jean Nutley
JN
Jean Nutley
2 years ago
Reply to  Graeme Laws

True story, told to my daughter last week. The discussion was about housing. The man to whom my daughter was talking, told her how his friend had had his move into a council house cancelled at the eleventh hour. His family had bided their time in grossly unsuitable housing, and were relieved when they were told a suitable house had been found. When he asked why they could no longer move, the response from the housing officer was blunt.
“That house is now reserved for an Afghani family”
Nearby we have unused Army barracks, complete with “officer” housing,which consists of several detached and semi detached houses..
Why can’t the refugees go there?
They would be together, visits from officials would be easier to carry out,as they would have only one place to visit.

Hersch Schneider
Hersch Schneider
2 years ago

I’ve tried (very briefly, but I knew instantly it was futile), but I can’t muster one bit of sympathy for any of these wretches
You’re offered asylum in a safe country, but you CHOOSE to pay large sums of money to float across the icy Channel in a paddling pool to force your way to another safe country, abusing that country’s sovereignty.
Crack on, lads. Darwin stuff

Robin P
RC
Robin P
2 years ago

“I’ve tried (very briefly, but I knew instantly it was futile), but I can’t muster one bit of sympathy for any of these wretches.”

Let’s have a guess how many of them you have known personally, as colleagues, neighbours, etc. Zilch isn’t it?
It’s good that you can say what you think (and we can read it), but it is far from a wise thing to be thinking. Cheers.

Last edited 2 years ago by Robin P
chris sullivan
CS
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Robin P

The point is not whether they are ‘good’ people but whether the country is able to absorb them ‘successfully’ – and the answer to that question (everywhere) is rapidly becoming NO – it is just a question of numbers and resources (and cultural appropriateness).

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
2 years ago

I’d be interested to hear why sending migrants who arrive by boat immediately to offshore asylum processing centres (e.g. in Albania or Africa) wouldn’t go a very long way to solving this problem.
Am I wrong in thinking this worked well for Australia’s border control ?

Last edited 2 years ago by Ian Barton
Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

There has to be an island off Scotland we could use. And the Scots wouldn’t be able to say No either because they claim to love immigrants so much.

stephen archer
SA
stephen archer
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

the good thing about Unherd is the general level and tone of comments, mainly from informed and responsible commenters keeping to the subject matter.

Last edited 2 years ago by stephen archer
Adrian Maxwell
Adrian Maxwell
2 years ago
Reply to  stephen archer

Satire struggles to the surface. I was about to ask didnt someone have the same idea about Madagascar but decided that would not be keeping to the subject matter.

Dustin Needle
DN
Dustin Needle
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Crossing the channel in November weather is good preparation for South Georgia.

Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Gruinard. Look it up.

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

I think here in Scotland we should accept a good many. Those who can afford to pay people smugglers are probably well educated and skilled. I think Scotland is a bit under populated, and needing these qualifications

chris sullivan
CS
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

And if they could make a go of it in your climate they deserve a chance !

rodney foy
RF
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

We had a warmer and drier summer than England, see pdf

https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/binaries/content/assets/metofficegovuk/pdf/weather/learn-about/uk-past-events/summaries/uk_monthly_climate_summary_summer2m_2021.pdf

Almost a fifth of the Syrian refugees who came to the UK as part of a special programme have settled in Scotland

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-47597458

Jamie Smith
JS
Jamie Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Syrians? So very different to Kurds, Afghans, Egyptians, Moroccans, Turks, Pakistanis and Iraqis. https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/news/5215881/police-scotland-glasgow-grooming-gang-secret/

Andrew Martin
AM
Andrew Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Let’s hope they don’t contribute to the excessive drug misuse that Scotland appears to have.

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Martin

Why would they?

JP Martin
JP Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Drug abuse is actually very high in this demographic (Captagon, Tramadol, and opium derivatives are the most common)

Claire D
CD
Claire D
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

In answer to your question, as far as I can tell, it is the Human Rights Act which prevents us sending them back anywhere.

AC Harper
AH
AC Harper
2 years ago

If France is so (comparatively) wonderful as implied by this Remainer Francophile why don’t the economic migrants claim asylum in France? Or could it be that asylum claims would fail and France is only too willing for the migrants to be someone else’s problem?

Hersch Schneider
HS
Hersch Schneider
2 years ago
Reply to  AC Harper

The Remainer/ progressive/ lefties will tie themselves in knots trying to paint Britain as a global laughing stock and a xenophobic bigoted hellhole, whilst at the same time trying to explain the flood of migrants literally risking their lives to live here rather than France
They seem to have settled with: the pull factors being ‘family ties’ and these migrants ‘speaking English’. They will never mention migrants seeing Britain a soft touch destination where they can exploit our welfare system

George Glashan
George Glashan
2 years ago

I marvel at Guardianland her citizens are able to face two ways at once and talk out of all sides of their mouths. In Guardianland Britain is a systemically racist, hateful place in decline and the EU is a nirvana of peace, intelligence and compassion. Also in Guardianland, the EU is far to violent and systemically racist for any noble migrant to consider stopping their they must be allowed into the peaceful, intelligent and compassionate place that Britain is.
I won’t even call them hypocrites, for to be a hypocrite a belief has to be sincerely held, these people are purely superficial.
I propose a trade system, for every migrant Britain takes from France, France has to take 1 Guardian columnist.

Matt M
MM
Matt M
2 years ago

I would like to see UnHerd do an analysis of the forthcoming the Nationality and Borders bill. And not by some Open Borders lawyer either. By an analyst who actually wants to stop illegal immigration.

Ian Barton
IB
Ian Barton
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

You are right – as good as Unherd is – they don’t tend to have articles written by people who hold this opinion, so we miss out on what would be welcomed expertise.
Im guessing the proprietors don’t want the risk of being labelled KKK – then being cancelled – then suffering a lack of investment.
There is some logic to having the Commenters being “the Unherd” ..

Last edited 2 years ago by Ian Barton
Matt M
MM
Matt M
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

I would have thought a publication that is totally funded by reader’s subscriptions is practically uncancellable. The bigger danger is losing the interest of your readers.

Robin P
RC
Robin P
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

I would have thought a publication that is totally funded by reader’s subscriptions is practically uncancellable.

It’s not that simple. The Forces of Darkness (in respect of imposed mass immigration and in respect of corporate pseudoscience such as the ongoing Covo-scare) are very powerful, with immense wealth to attack you with. You have to be very careful before you raise their hostility. Just tolerating these comments here is playing it rather riskily.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

I rather doubt readers contributions make much a dent in the cost of Unherd. I would guess there is some rich guy behind it – that is how the MSM works, paid shills for some agenda. Unherd happens to be an agenda I support politically though. I would love Freddy doing a self-interview on the logistics of Unherd and its formation and goals.

Margaret Tudeau-Clayton
Margaret Tudeau-Clayton
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Yes I’d also like transparency as to how Unherd is financed.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Agreed – should that info not be part of a full disclosure statement. Unherd could be funded by the Russians for all we know ……….who would rather like the manner in which much of dubious ‘western’ culture is being critiqued …………??

James Joyce
JJ
James Joyce
2 years ago

The migrant crisis can be solved if the West hardens its resolve. If Western societies writ large would not tolerate these invasive species, they would stop coming. It’s that simple.
People who think they are of “good will” who rescue them at sea, give them aid and comfort in country, and facilitate their passage within the EU must be stopped and severely punished. These scammers should get absolutely nothing from any Western society, and be rounded up and deported. Every single one of them. If their countries of origin won’t take them, not a single visa should be issued unless and until they repatriate their fellow citizens.
Zero tolerance.

D Glover
D Glover
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Poland has shown what can be done. They lined their border with Belarus with razor wire. They placed police there with batons and pepper spray. They held the line.
We should be grateful to the Poles; and not for the first time.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
ER
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

We just don’t hand over the aid that these countries think is their entitlement

Dustin Needle
DN
Dustin Needle
2 years ago

John certainly has learnt plenty of Gallic pique in his 20 years at the “Independent” (sic). The article got into a blame-the-Brits repetition loop half way through, so stopped reading and instead did a search to see how many times the word “Schengen” appears. I was unsurprised to see that the result was zero.
The opening up of the EU/Schengen to Eastern European countries has increased the number of hardened gangs running the people trafficking rings and frankly Western European plod is no match for them, and the Human Rights legislation (no longer fit for purpose) and media (ditto) that allow these criminals to operate without sanction. These criminals are now being joined by a political class that recognises mass migration as a key weapon of hybrid warfare. Boris Johnson and Priti Patel are the least of Europe’s problems.
The headline-writer got this one right – “the Calais crisis can’t be solved” – within a current framework where the system is being gamed relentlessly and for profit.
Get real John. The post-USSR Peace Dividend is over. Liberalism has failed. There are Chechen gangs running the streets of Lyon – last month a teenage girl was stabbed for being “too European” and sexually abused by her father. Yet I’m supposed to worry about whether Macron has had his feelings hurt?

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 years ago
Reply to  Dustin Needle

What did Eric Zemmour say to the Spectator regarding the problem:
‘I’ll tell you what: if I were president, they would not arrive in Calais.’ He says the Le Touquet agreement, through which Britain pays to support French border checkpoints, is ‘disrespectful’ to France. ‘We’re not a third-world country. I don’t understand why French governments accepted this. On the other hand, these people… should not enter France. We should do every-thing possible to dissuade them. I would expel these people and I would suppress all social aid so that they would not be tempted to come any more… I saw your Home Secretary say — and she is absolutely right — that France should better control its border.’
If he were elected president and was actually able to stem the tide of migrants flowing into France the number of migrants crossing the channel might be reduced. However, the chances of his being elected don’t look promising and as a “far right” politician he would be opposed by all the entrenched leftist elites in France and Brussels who would seek to neuter any attempt to keep out migrants. More likely he would finish the Le Touquet agreement and things would be worse for the UK.

Last edited 2 years ago by Jeremy Bray
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
ER
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  Dustin Needle

Also he is not from Stoke-on-Trent

David Nebeský
David Nebeský
2 years ago
Reply to  Dustin Needle

There are virtually no gangs from “new” EU/Schengen countries which operate in the “old” EU countries. Have you ever heard of Polish, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian or Bulgarian gang? About Romanian (read: Gypsy), maybe. Hardened gangs came from former USSR and from southeastern Balkan countries which are not part of EU.

Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago

Over 30 years ago (Margaret Thatcher was still PM) a friend of mine studying International Development at university, as a mature student, told me that one focus of the course was the waves of migration that were “on the way”, from Africa and the Middle East to Europe.
We knew this was coming, we were preparing ourselves academically at least.
I think it is essential Britain and France co-operate and remain friends, if we are to even approach managing and limiting this migration.

Last edited 2 years ago by Claire D
Peter Francis
Peter Francis
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

You make a very important point. I totally concur that we are reaping what was sown all those years ago. Back then the EU set up offices in Africa to encourage immigration to Europe. The liberal elite in Europe have been so beholden to the idea of mass immigration that laws, treaties and institutions have all been adjusted to facilitate it. A lot of dismantling has to be done to bring the situation under control.

Claire D
CD
Claire D
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

There is that side to it absolutely, the lecturers were also talking in terms of an unstoppable wave of economic migrants as a force of nature, legal or otherwise. An inevitable consequence due to existing and forthcoming circumstances – war, famine, tyranny etc, and the promise of safety and a better life in the West.
I don’t get the impression that our leaders are inclined to dismantle anything fundamentally quite honestly, but perhaps I’m wrong.

Last edited 2 years ago by Claire D
Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

It’s ironic really, that there’s all the fuss and crossness about colonialism at the same time as thousands of people are making their way across continents, desperate for our protection and more orderly way of life.

Last edited 2 years ago by Claire D
chris sullivan
CS
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Totally predictable merely in terms of population growth in those countries – where did they think the hungry surplus would go. Again a failure of our leaders to make the hard decisions in the past but also a failure of the average voter to suppport those hard decisions which might have cost them a teeny bit of $. As the article writer states we (inc Joe Average-with-a-vote) are ‘all’ to blame.

L Walker
LW
L Walker
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

The Germans called all the Turks that came to work there “guest workers”. But they weren’t guests, they won’t go home, because they think they are home, and then the chain migration started. We’re having the same thing here on our southern
border, thanks to our feeble minded president. We’re not getting quite as many Africans and Asians thanks to the Atlantic and Pacific, but it’s increasing. The bleeding heart liberals think we can take all the world’s poor. I’m not going to be see the end of this but my grandchildren are going to be living in a very dystopian world. As are yours.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Blair sent the creature Mandleson to scour the world for the least suitable migrants to bring in by the millions – he called it – ‘to rub the Right’s nose in it’.

Where do you think all those no-go areas came from.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
2 years ago

This problem is entirely due to the EU open borders policy. The EU is Europe’s nightmare.

Christopher Gelber
CG
Christopher Gelber
2 years ago

Not a single person arriving in the UK is a “genuine refugee”. Not one. That is because it is impossible for them not to have passed through, usually several, safe Continental countries first. There is no exception to this.
Having said that, I would come here if I were one of them. For most of the world Britain is indeed a land of plenty where everything is free, you get housed, clothed, fed, looked after medically, even a mobile phone and regular cash. Just for being here. These things are fantastical, beyond ambition, in the countries they come from. And once here you get to stay, no matter what. They are behaving perfectly rationally in coming here and spreading the word far and wide. The mayor of Calais is right: the fault lies with the insanely sweet honey pot of UK welfare, which will keep attracting very large numbers of immigrants without end.

Last edited 2 years ago by Christopher Gelber
Jamie Smith
Jamie Smith
2 years ago

“… you get housed, clothed, fed, looked after medically, even a mobile phone and regular cash.” And if you join a gang of child rapists, a Police force, national and local politicians, a civil service and local authorities which will cover up your crimes.

R Baron
RB
R Baron
2 years ago

The Calais crisis can be solved at a stroke, find out who the organisers are, the criminals pocketing the money, liquidate them, it will take a few to hit the dust for the rest of them to get the message.
Barbaric you say, law breaking, undemocratic, as criminal as what they’re up to?
May be, but it’s a choice between extinguishing a few villains or having to recover 27 corpses from the waters of the Channel once in a while. No brainer this.

Charles Lawton
Charles Lawton
2 years ago
Reply to  R Baron

If it was that simple it would have happened already. The international criminal underworld are in this and use safe places like Northern Cyprus as a base where they are untouchable.
Much more could be done if the UK and France stopped squabbling like children.

Peter Francis
Peter Francis
2 years ago

I realise that the UK is an attractive destination for irregular migrants because of a wide variety of pull factors (language, ease of employment in the illegal economy, practically zero chance of deportation, etc.). But two other contributors to the pull factor can be overlooked. (1) The way that DFID has splashed the cash around the globe must make everyone on the planet think that the UK has more money than sense. (2) The BBC world service projects a make-believe image of Britain in which the entire population comprises BBC luvvies. Hopefully DFID’s demise will start to solve the former problem. But the BBC should do more to convey the fact that immigration is a very divisive issue in the UK, with the elite (pro) at odds with the populace (largely anti).

Last edited 2 years ago by Peter Francis
Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

The World Service is now a disgrace. It doesn’t cover the world- almost obsessive about Africa and identity issues.

Robin P
RC
Robin P
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

But the BBC should do more to convey the fact that immigration is a very divisive issue in the UK,

Talk of flying pigs!

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
2 years ago

These IBs (Inflatable Boats) (Some of us yachtsmen call them “Deflatables”) are being used for illegal purpose. They are surely liable to seizure. They can be deemed unseaworthy even in the hands of experienced seafarers. The French would not let me sail my boat away from France if they deemed it unseaworthy and that can be a ‘skipper’ considered unqualified or lacking proper experience. Who owns the IBs? Get the French police to stick a knife or spike into each compartment and see who comes forward to claim compensation.
Simples?

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

true – just ban ALL inflateables over 4mtrs in France and problem solved !! not that hard really

Robin P
Robin P
2 years ago

“The Calais crisis can’t be solved.”
Yes it can. The UK was capable of keeping out Hitler’s army and navy for several years. But now supposedly we are defenceless against unarmed people in inflatable boats. There isn’t a technical problem, merely an ideological one.
We have had 75 years of Far Globalism, fuelled not least by the greed of those who are very concerned that house prices might fall. How terrible if the low life of Benefits Street could afford to buy a house in Islington! There’s the greed right there.
House prices are VERY sensitive to housing demand which is very much a function of population/overpopulation. More “refugees” = more UNEARNED profits for property owners, so what’s not to like?
If people were minded to, a new policy could be announced to start next year or whenever. That policy being that any invading vessels will be treated as invading enemy and perhaps even sunk without rescue. Nasty? So is having your national community destroyed and turned into a failed society, of anarchic real nasty stuff. And so is the constant collusion with the people-traffickers.
Once such a policy has been announced, the trafficking will come to an abrupt halt, so no-one will be shot out of the sea anyway. But in the meantime the Far Globalists with their UNEARNED income greed agenda would prefer to pretend it is so so so difficult and the deaths will continue.
There’s another matter of helping people to stay in their own native lands. I for one supported the anti-war campaigns. Shame on those who didn’t but just hold up “Refugees welcome here” when what they really mean is “migrants welcome to price out the residents of scruffy Benefits Street” and wouldn’t dream of welcoming them to live permanently in their own Islington homes. Sorry if anyone upset by too much truth here. Cheers.

Last edited 2 years ago by Robin P
Geoffrey Wilson
GW
Geoffrey Wilson
2 years ago

Interesting article, and comments, thanks. I personally don’t read the article as a bleeding heart liberal advocacy of free immigration, but as pointing our with some persuasive evidence that the French authorities have at least in part acted as reasonable friends to Britain. As I would expect, since generally I find British and French people to be similarly civilised. The last sentence is of course rubbish – the situation will in practice stay much as it is (sadly).
Of course (cue outrage from the establishment) the answer, from the point of view of a good civilised life for the British people for whom our government should be acting, is to change the balance of motivations of would-be immigrants, particularly those who might not fit well into the culture we like here. Abandon the international rules and culture which prevents deporting those entering against our rules. Then they will see less reason to pay the smugglers, then fewer will come. Yes, more will die in the short time while this is being implemented, but fewer will die in the long term, and society will be happier.

John Riordan
John Riordan
2 years ago

“But the French — notably the people of the Pas de Calais — also have good reason to believe that they have been troubled for three decades by what is, ultimately, a British problem.”

Great article generally, and this part stands out. I have been saying for ages that unless Britain takes the step of reforming its own broken system which create perverse incentives, this problem will never go away. There are a great many more good reasons to tighten up our ludicrously porous welfare system and to reform the manner in which we apply the human rights act. But this reason is as good as any a place to start.

Andrew Martin
AM
Andrew Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  John Riordan

As I have said elsewhere, the Conservatives are in Government but not in power. Strangely they are only just waking up to the glaring obvious.

Luke I
Luke I
2 years ago

Can’t we learn from the 2015 migrant crisis? Once Italy then the EU promised to keep the boats safe, the number of crossings exploded as migrants and smugglers saw an easy route. Even if you make each crossing 5 times safer, a 100-fold increase in crossings still leads to 20 times more deaths (and at the cost of millions of illegal migrants).

Similarly, look at Australia turning the boats around. Prior to that, people drowned or landed in the desert and died. Sustained credible refusal of migrants prevented crossings completely – no more deaths, and all continuing migration was legal.

Dustshoe Richinrut
DR
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago

The most important pull-factor for the decision to take to the sea must be the sense that there are now strong enough family or even clan ties to support the migrants/asylum seekers on their landing in the UK. Also, the sea is a guarantee that you can’t be returned immediately to France. The sea is a fickle but ultimately useless barrier. If there were a strip of sea between Poland and Belarus, Poland would be in the UK’s situation for sure. I would guess Poland will soon decide whether it should build a barrier on its eastern border that resembles the one between Greece and Turkey’s land border.

The migrants have weighed up for themselves what’s best for them. They see taking to the sea as well worth the risk. Having undergone a fraught, eventful journey to get to France, and then having to go through the long and uncertain rigmarole of applying for asylum to the UK from there, is not an option for many, I imagine. And so enter the smugglers.

A major concern now is how powerful and rich the people-smuggling gangs are becoming. Would a small group of migrants dare to take the organisational practicalities of their passage into their own hands? So that they might have some money left in their pocket? If they do dare to, would they encroach, as it were, upon the smugglers’ sacrosanct territory? And risk being physically harmed or killed?

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

Clan ties. Yes exactly. They’re not here to be British or adopt British culture. That’s why I object to them so much.

D Glover
DG
D Glover
2 years ago

The sea is a fickle but ultimately useless barrier. If there were a strip of sea between Poland and Belarus, Poland would be in the UK’s situation for sure

Not true. In 1940 we festooned the south coast with barbed wire and dragon’s teeth. If we made landing impossible for small boats, they simply would not come.

Robin P
RC
Robin P
2 years ago
Reply to  D Glover

Posh people in Brighton area would soon defeat that, I suspect.

Kate Heusser
KH
Kate Heusser
2 years ago

There is no ‘rigmarole of applying for asylum to the UK from’ France or anywhere else; you have to be physically present in the UK to claim asylum here. That is part of the problem.
We don’t take more than our ‘fair share’ of asylum seekers. France takes many more than we do. But, if we want genuinely to ‘control our borders’, while preening ourselves that we are ‘compassionate’ and fair, we need to establish a way of processing asylum claims as close to the countries of origin as possible. We do a bit, but it’s a pathetic bit. It takes forever. People with a genuine claim for asylum in the UK are easily persuaded that it will be quicker and more certain to sell everything they have to get themselves or a family member to the UK with a people smuggling gang, and then to rely on that person to get permission for the rest of the family to join them.
It’s a useless system and we can change it. With a decent asylum system visibly in place, then we can undermine the criminals’ business model and slow the horrific trade in human futures.

Marcia McGrail
MM
Marcia McGrail
2 years ago
Reply to  Kate Heusser

France may indeed take more asylum seekers than the UK: perhaps that is bc it is 3 times larger with less population density than UK?

JP Martin
JP Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Marcia McGrail

Is poison less dangerous in small quantities? I don’t think it’s a question of scale. Poland and Hungary understand this.

Dustshoe Richinrut
DR
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago
Reply to  Kate Heusser

It’s more than just people with a genuine claim who are persuaded. Merely ‘undermine’ the smugglers and ‘slow’ the ‘horrific trade in human futures’ down?

Jacqueline Burns
Jacqueline Burns
2 years ago

Have you ever considered that the French siezure of tents, etc is a means to encourage these would be illegal entrants to the Uk to actually attempt the crossing to get them OUT of France? International law does NOT state that the UK has to entertain these illegal entrants. What it says is that these people should apply for asylum in the first safe countr they arrive in which, unless they fall off a cloud drifting past, is NOT the UK. Furthermore, whilst it is, indeed, possible that they may have had to leave their own countries clandestinely there is no such need to enter the UK illegally if they are genuaine refugees or asylum seekers. It does rather seem a prima facie case that;-

  1. Such entrants are NOT genuine claimants
  2. Such entrants are quite happy to break the laws of a country. This does not bode well for their future conduct in Britain.
  3. Such entrants want to get to the UK for other, as yet, unstated reasons
Kate Heusser
KH
Kate Heusser
2 years ago

‘International Law’ doesn’t say anything about the first safe country; EU law does – that’s how north-western EU countries have escaped most of the cost of dealing with the droves getting into the EU from its unstable neighbours.
But we left the EU, and we no longer have the protection of the Dublin Agreement.

Patrick Fox
Patrick Fox
2 years ago

Another J. Lichfield British bashing he just can’t stop himself from his French retreat even when he tries to give the impression his paper is balanced and to be perfectly clear what he writes does not bring an once of news, I hope Unherd do not pay him.

As he cites international law applicable to refugees he seems to claim that they have a right to “reach British soil” in order to claim asylum and that the UK is preventing them from doing so. This is legally wrong there is no such right.

We all know that in order to travel from one country to another one must comply with the legal entry requirements of said country such as visa, in the absence of which transporters shall not let you board and this is perfectly legal no discussion. This means that the refugees would in any case not be authorised to travel by normal routes as transporters would be liable hence for them the only recourse is illegal means of transport.

The purveyors of these life threatening illegal means of transport are qualified as human traffickers under international law and France under the treaties it is a party to has undertaken to fight and sanction human trafficking when it takes place on its territory. So under international law France is the prime responsible for the life and security of those refugees while on its territory with or without the 2003 Le Touquet agreement with the UK which is thus irrelevant in this case despite Lichfield’s claims. He just uses selective arguments to push his anti British discourse and pretend he is knowledgeable by using the few buzz words such as international law, human rights . A real empty Parisian elitist woke.

Last edited 2 years ago by Patrick Fox
Terence Fitch
TF
Terence Fitch
2 years ago

The mass immigration Blair Brown gross GDP Ponzi Scheme hasn’t worked out well.

Robin P
Robin P
2 years ago
Reply to  Terence Fitch

It has worked very well for those making huge unearned profits on their property values and rental income.

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
2 years ago

The combination of open borders and cradle to grave welfare is unsustainable. This calculation only requires basic arithmetic. It ain’t rocket science. When you add in the “cultural sensitivity” of the left, which winks at crime and honor killings as part of immigrants’ culture, and it’s no wonder illegal immigration is a serious problem.

If immigrants are produtive, paying for my social security, I am perfectly fine with legal immigration. But if immigrants are illegal, destitute, and looking for welfare, not self supporting occupation, I see no purpose for letting them in. I don’t care what color they are in either case.

I spent 45 years working in IT. I worked with people from about 16 different countries. Whenever one of them was naturalized, I thanked them for joining our club. Then I told them they would be paying my social security. They all laughed, because they had to work hard to become a US citizen. They saw the reverse xenophobia as really funny coming from a cowboy from Montana. But all of them knew I sent out an email every year with tips on how to deal with Chicago winters, how to dress and how to drive. I really did want to help them fit in.

Mike Bell
Mike Bell
2 years ago

What is the objection to having a policy that anyone arriving illegally can never get the right to remain?

Patrick Martin
PM
Patrick Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike Bell

No objections. But we’d need to get rid of the ECHR.

Tony Taylor
TT
Tony Taylor
2 years ago

Plate tectonics will solve the problem. Eventually.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Taylor

This is what the government is counting on.

Mike Bell
MB
Mike Bell
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Taylor

Are you sure the UK is moving towards France?

yp54797wxn
NJ
yp54797wxn
2 years ago

The same people who say, “The Calais crisis can only be managed. It cannot be solved”, nevertheless think the climate of the entire planet can be solved by taxing citizens more.

Charles Mimoun
CM
Charles Mimoun
2 years ago

The XX century was the century of capitalism and communism. The XXI will be this of borders and immigration.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles Mimoun

I think it will be the century of war and disease. Mass migration will cause both.

Last edited 2 years ago by Cheryl Jones
Mel Shaw
Mel Shaw
2 years ago

What work would, or could, they do when they get here? The primary school teacher might be able to retrain to reach the necessary standard. Farmers and labourers might pick cabbages, etc. Without English I doubt there is much else for them.

Kate Heusser
KH
Kate Heusser
2 years ago
Reply to  Mel Shaw

None. Not until their claims for asylum have been accepted. Our law prevents asylum seekers from working legally in any capacity.

Fergus Mason
FM
Fergus Mason
2 years ago
Reply to  Kate Heusser

Quite right too. The last thing we need is another flood of cheap unskilled labour.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago

“The Calais crisis can only be managed. It cannot be solved.” If everyone who made it was returned, it would obviously be solved because there’d be no point in starting the journey. It might be asked why France should accept them, but of course it had already done so, and their problem remains. As it stands now, I think their problem continues to get worse, because of the draw of the United Kingdom.
“And like it or not, it can only be managed with the help of France.” Well of course! That’s what we’ve been trying to say; these people are on French soil, and within the jurisdiction of France. They acquire the boats in France or bring them in, they inflate them and launch them in France, and they remain in French jurisdiction, untouchable by British services, until over the half way line. (And how difficult can it be for someone to disable one of these boats, which are self-evidently fragile; they should be destroyed before allowed to put their passengers i mortal danger.
As for the pull of the UK, just compare the accommodation. In France, squalor, but in the United Kingdom, a hotel (and complaints if cheaper alternatives are attempted).
Regarding numbers; the UK has a population similar to that of France, but it is rapidly increasing in an area significantly less than France. The numbers of asylum applications accepted may be lower, but even if rejected, the numbers physically removed is effectively zero.

David McDowell
DM
David McDowell
2 years ago

Predetermined, myopic nonsense of course. The problem can quite easily be minimised by the criminalisation of unlawful immigration activity and the unrelenting repatriation of unlawful immigrants.
This won’t happen of course, not because it is politically or legally impossible or even because the UK is a beacon of unquestioning humanity.
It won’t happen because politicians on the centre right need to appease paymasters who require these people to suppress pressure for wage inflation from workers who were born here, and politicians on the left need them to gerrymander elections.

Gayle Rosenthal
Gayle Rosenthal
2 years ago

When are we going to say it ? Don’t say: “The fact they choose not to and prefer to maintain their despicable regressive, religious, tribal cultures tells me a lot about their mentality. ” Just say it – ISLAM. ISLAM is the poison that causes Muslim on Muslim violence. Islam is a dangerous political ideology that should be banned. It the Taliban and TTP in Pakistan aren’t evidence enough then what will be ? Say it’s name – ISLAM is the perpetrator.

Deborah B
DB
Deborah B
2 years ago

Tempting while it is to repeat the big loud arguments on this subject, I only have my own experiences to go on. As someone whose job was to inspect the properties where migrants and asylum seekers were housed, I liked to talk and find out the stories of those I visited. I remember speaking to a young Afghan man housed in a pretty unpleasant bedsit in about year 2000. He was annoyed with me because he hadn’t been offered the home he’d been promised by the people smugglers. He expected a ‘penthouse’, yes those are his own words and he’d been told everyone drove a Mercedes and he would be entitled to one as well. As outlandish as these ideas are, he truly believed it and was really angry with his horrible bedsit and paltry benefits.
He told me how he had a knife, as did many others in the house, because you had to take care. There were many who had scores still to settle from their own country and villages.
So my small contribution to this debate is that the stories told by the smugglers to prise the money ( or debts left to the families) to encourage migrants to leave their homes are contributing significantly to the problem. They are false and go unchallenged. Because a glance at social media only shows how great and free and prosperous the West is. Not the reality. Maybe some shock tactics would deter some, but beliefs are hard to shift if people are being pretty much brainwashed in the first place.

Nicholas Taylor
NT
Nicholas Taylor
2 years ago

Cheryl Jones’ Malthusian words are strong, too strong for some platforms, but sometimes you have to ‘tell it like it is’. The European rules of asylum are quite clear. It can be claimed only on arrival, and must be in the first country reached. The problem in Europe seems to be what to do with migrants who do not claim asylum. No-one seems to have thought about that. The author traces waves of migration back to the 1990s, so what makes today’s a ‘crisis’? Simply that some people died in the sea. Actually, the ‘crisis’ may have hardly begun. Outright warfare has declined in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, but what has replaced it is oppression and intolerable living conditions. with no sign of end. Can we blame Bush and Blair’s clumsy intervention for everything that has happened? Sunni, Shia, Kurd and Hazara go back a lot further, as do absolute rulers and dictators.
Not all migrants prefer to maintain their regressive religious cultures in full – read for example ‘The lightless sky’. However, that kind of culture is strongly adhesive. Professor David Voas (UCL) finds differently about religion (mainly Christian) in the ‘west’, where affiliation has seen steep declines even in USA. However, what caught my eye in his graph of religious affiliation by year of birth in New Zealand was that the decline was beginning to level off. Extrapolated, it might stop around 25% in future generations. This presumably has more to do with mindset than wider culture and loyalty to family and tradition, which has been largely undermined in the ‘west’ for commercial gain. A similar process might act on immigrants from what Ms Jones characterises as ‘tribal cultures’, especially among the more educated (can you spot a university degree in a huddled mass on a waterlogged boat?) Yet the likelihood is that islands of non-assimilation will continue to exist and grow as they have for decades.
Anyway, what satisfaction does ‘western’ culture have to offer? We don’t really believe in anything do we? We’ll go the way of the Romans because when it comes down to it, we don’t have a commitment to anything but self-indulgence. “So, what’s wrong with that?”, says Nature, “it’s served the Earth well for four billion years”. Until recently, Nature never had to deal with Spiritus Mundi full of passionate intensity. Depressingly, the most recent explosions of passion that have occurred, mainly in America since WW2, have amounted to thrashing around blindly. Should we just accept the inevitable? The funny thing is that 22nd century global Islamic civilisation will be able to do everything we do and do it just as well. It will just drink more tea and take more prayer breaks.

Last edited 2 years ago by Nicholas Taylor
John Urwin
JU
John Urwin
2 years ago

I’ve read all the comments on John Lichfield’s article and haven’t seen a solution proposed that is likely to be accepted by the political class. The fact is that these people will keep coming as they are living in failed states. There are 80+ million on the move or in refugee camps. It is also a fact that immigrants already here make a valuable contribution to our society – walk into any hospital. Among the incomers will be some very useful people. Surely the trick is to identify those and let them stay, while removing the others who are not at risk of real harm, but this can only be done with the agreement of other countries, while having an asylum system that is seen to be fair. But even this is elitism…Australia does it. We are fortunate to live in a fairly prosperous area and behind us are an Indian family. They hold their own celebrations but otherwise have fully integrated. One of their sons will become a dentist and the other is taking a science degree. My wife is a nurse and has many immigrant colleagues such as surgeons, nurses, consultants, radiographers etc who are excellent,so let’s not tar them all with the same brush. The main problem seems to be the many low skilled Moslems who will not integrate and live in separate communities.

Last edited 2 years ago by John Urwin
Kate Heusser
KH
Kate Heusser
2 years ago

For the EU, migrants who don’t claim asylum in the first EU country they enter are, indeed, an embarrassment. Shovelling (sorry, encouraging) them to transit the EU as quickly as possible and to pass out at another external border is an attractive proposition. Since we left the EU, that ‘external border’ is ours. So the pull factors of the UK for asylum seekers is now compounded by the ‘push factor’ of EU expediency. No wonder they wouldn’t agree a replacement for the Dublin agreement!
As for the far-fetched possibility of using the housing market for the purpose of providing homes for people instead of a source of unearned wealth, I have a question: why can’t Housing Benefit be used to enable people to own their own homes rather than feather the nest of a landlord? Eligibility on the basis of long association with a particular community and a track record of good maintenance of a council rented property?

Richard Calhoun
Richard Calhoun
2 years ago

Thank you Mr Lichfield, like many I was under a misapprehension as to the causes of the migrant crisis in Calais.
Your knowledge and clarification are much welcome, notable it has not been available in the MSM or from Govt.
The cause of the migrant crisis clearly starts in their own countries, who are either at war or their govts.and their society is deeply cporrupt, or often both.
Leaving many of their peoples little choice but to migrate.
Possibly shovelling in shed loads of aid has not helped them, how much better for these emerging countries to open their economies and allow investment, not from Govts. but commercial organisations.

Doug Pingel
DP
Doug Pingel
2 years ago

Commercial organisations? Chinese?

Peter Francis
PF
Peter Francis
2 years ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

Doug, you make an important point. China is getting mineral extraction rights in Afghanistan and large swathes of Africa. But I bet that will have no effect on the stream of migrants heading for Europe.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
2 years ago

Every crisis can be solved when there is the determination to do it. Boris managed to stop us going on the beaches during the first lockdown. Perhaps he should look to his hero Churchill for ideas on how to stop access to our beaches from the sea.

William Hickey
WH
William Hickey
2 years ago

I have faith in non-white migrants.

I believe that if they remain in their home country and fight to make it the decent place to live they say they want for themselves and their children, that they will succeed.

Hail, Wakanda!

Si, se puede!

They will overcome!

And many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many years from now my posterity will cheerfully plan vacations to the fabulous cities and technological attractions the free sons and daughters of today’s repatriated aliens will construct.

You betcha!

J S
J S
2 years ago

This is America’s fault for blowing up the middle east. Why does no one hold them accountable?

Robin P
Robin P
2 years ago
Reply to  J S

Not America’s fault. The fault of Blair, Obama, et al.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
2 years ago
Reply to  J S

The Middle East has been inherently unstable for decades, probably centuries,

JP Martin
JM
JP Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

True, but starting a foreign war to solve a domestic immigration problem was idiotic and bound to make the situation worse. The 9/11 attackers were all foreign nationals with no automatic right to be in the US. Tightening border controls would have been a much more sensible response than initiating a military conflict.

Ann Ceely
Ann Ceely
2 years ago

This article is incorrect. It states that folk can “claim asylum in Britain (as is their right under international law)”
NO,NO, NO!
They should have claimed asylum in France at either a French or British Embassy /Consulate.
Waiting until they exit France gives them no way to become legal in either country!
Some