Home Secretary Priti Patel is in talks to force France to take back migrants no matter which side of the Channel they are seized on
- Migrants being brought into the UK when they’re caught in the Channel
- Priti Patel said if migrants know they’ll be returned, they won’t try to cross
- A source close to Patel said the talks with her French counterpart had been ‘very positive’
Home Secretary Priti Patel is in talks with her French counterpart to force the return of asylum seekers even if they are picked up on the British side of the Channel.
Ms Patel is involved in negotiations with her French counterpart Christophe Castaner and has stressed that the threat of being returned no matter where they were caught, will stop the migrants making the dangerous journey.
‘If people know that they can’t get across the Channel, they are less likely to congregate in the camps so it is a benefit to the French. It’s not just in the interests of the UK,’ a source close to Ms Patel told the Telegraph.
The source added that the talks had been ‘very positive’.
A handout photo made available by no 10 Downing street shows Britain’s Home Secretary Priti Patel holding a digital Covid-19 press conference in n10 Downing street in London, Britain, 25 April 2020
Ms Patel is also discussing closure of the migrant camps in northern France and strengthening prevention.
The vast majority of migrants that have crossed the stretch of water over the past 16 months have not been sent back to France.
It seems as though the seekers are now using the lax system and getting themselves caught in British waters so the coastguard will rescue them and allow them safe passage to the UK.
At the end of April, Ms Patel pledged the tougher approach from the two countries during the Home Affairs Select Committee meeting, after being asked why there had been an apparent ‘spike’ in people trying to cross the channel.
A Border Force vessel carries a group of people thought to be migrants as it arrives in Dover, Kent, following a number of small boat incidents in the Channel on 27 April, 2020, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus
French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner during a press conference following the weekly cabinet meeting on May 2, 2020 at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris
Priti Patel today told the Home Affairs Select Committee at the end of April that the Home Office is trying to combat ‘vexatious’ asylum claims
At the time, she said it is a ‘very, very difficult area’ at the moment as she said illegal migrants were also trying to cross to the UK from Belgium.
‘We have seen greater dispersal across the French coast and we are seeing this now across the Belgian coast.
‘What has happened in France, all credit to the French actually who like we are, despite lockdown and despite all the pressures with coronavirus, are deploying all sorts of activity and resources basically in trying to deter.
‘So there is now 24/7 coverage on the beaches of northern France. We are using drones, we are using more detections, we are using ANPR.
A Dungeness lifeboat is pictured on April 25 after picking up an inflatable dinghy which is thought to have been used to carry migrants across the English Channel
‘The fact of the matter is, not withstanding these French patrols, these extra patrols on French beaches and using specialist vehicles for detection, too many are getting through.’
She has also pledged to make changes to a set of regulations, which places responsibility for processing asylum claims on the first country asylum is sought in.
The Dublin Regulations, according to Home Office sources, are too rigid and prevent the return of migrants who dodge ID checks as they crossed the continent.
‘We are in negotiations with the EU to put in place more favourable return agreements [on the Dublin Regulations] with our European part-ners after the UK has left the [Brexit] transition period.’
The source said Ms Patel is working on achieving a ‘more favourable return agreement’ on the regulation for after Brexit.