One of Rishi Sunak’s first pledges as Prime Minister was to honour the Tories’ manifesto promise to cut net immigration.
But unless he and Home Secretary Suella Braverman can stem the tide of small boats bringing economic migrants from France, that promise is simply undeliverable.
To have any chance of succeeding, Mr Sunak must take on not only the traffickers who operate the boats, but also the army of lawyers who make a fat living by manipulating the asylum system.
As we report today, the average time taken to process a single claim is now between five and eight years. And even if it eventually fails, the chances of deportation are vanishingly small.
The system is clearly out of control.
Unless he and Home Secretary Suella Braverman can stem the tide of small boats bringing economic migrants from France, that promise is simply undeliverable. A Border Force boat is pictured above rescuing migrants in May
The Left likes to claim that cross-Channel migrants are overwhelmingly refugees fleeing war and persecution. While this may be true of some, nearly a third of the 38,000 who have made the crossing this year are Albanian – up from just 50 in 2020.
They are attracted by this country’s generous welfare system and the prospect of work on the black economy. They are clearly not refugees.
Uncontrolled migration was one of Tony Blair’s many toxic legacies which 12 years of Tory-led government has lamentably failed to reverse. At every bid to reduce numbers, from the Rwanda experiment to threats to turn back boats in the Channel, Labour howls with indignation.
Yet it offers no credible alternative, beyond just letting everyone in. The trouble with this insouciance is that our infrastructure is unable to cope.
The processing centre at Manston, Kent, is dangerously overcrowded. A first decision takes an average of 480 days, during which time the claimants have to be housed, fed and looked after.
The Left likes to claim that cross-Channel migrants are overwhelmingly refugees fleeing war and persecution. While this may be true of some, nearly a third of the 38,000 who have made the crossing this year are Albanian – up from just 50 in 2020. An empty small boat is pictured above being taken away earlier this month at Dover
Accommodation for migrants is currently costing £7million a day and given the acute housing shortage, those costs are expected to go on rising. On this, as with so many issues, Labour has no solution – and little interest in finding one. So it’s up to Mr Sunak to grasp the nettle.
More aggressive Anglo-French efforts to crack down on traffickers would be an obvious starting point but this has been tried without any conspicuous success.
A comprehensive shake-up of the whole asylum system is required.
Much more rapid assessment, an end to spurious appeals and the genuine prospect of deportation for those whose claims fail are long overdue reforms.
Britain has a proud record of welcoming genuine refugees to our shores. Sadly, our charity and good will are being shamelessly exploited. Enough is enough.
Skills Britain needs
Another damaging legacy of the Blair years is the deeply flawed target of sending 50 per cent of all young people to university. The truth is that many children are simply not academic.
If they do reach higher education, they often drop out or leave with practically useless degrees – and a mountain of debt.
So Mr Sunak’s plans for a major expansion of vocational education, including stronger links to industry, are hugely welcome. He also wants greater focus on maths and English, which employers will applaud.
The British economy is crying out for more people with technical skills. Why import them when we could be training our own?
Another damaging legacy of the Blair years is the deeply flawed target of sending 50 per cent of all young people to university. The truth is that many children are simply not academic
Under the rather self-pitying title Spare, Prince Harry’s much-heralded memoir is finally to be published. Despite reports he was toning down some of the attacks on his family following the Queen’s death, one insider claims it is ‘highly critical of everyone and everything’. It’s pompously billed as ‘a journey from trauma to healing’. Sadly, it sounds like yet another interminable moan.