Just hours after the United Kingdom announced a record number of refugees arriving across the English Channel, the country’s government agreed to work on the migration issue with France. The United Kingdom will send 62.7 million euros to France to strengthen police patrols on French beaches. “We want to prevent unnecessary deaths at sea,” explained the British Home Office.
The agreement was signed on Tuesday by British Home Secretary Priti Patel and her French counterpart Gérald Darmanin.
The deal is a response to the growing number of refugees setting on the extremely dangerous journey to the British Isles across the English Channel in recent weeks, often using very unsuitable boats.
“There is a real risk there will be fatalities, so we have got to work with the French to stop them leaving the beaches in the first place,” a British Home Office source told Politico.
More police officers on the beaches
The money is intended to double the number of police officers supervising French beaches and, at the same time, to invest in modern surveillance technologies.
The British government announced that 430 migrants entered the country through the Channel on Monday, setting a new single-day record. The Times daily estimates that about 8,500 migrants crossed the English Channel in 2021.
In addition to working with France, Home Secretary Patel plans to implement a new law on immigration which has been criticized by both the opposition and human rights organizations as one that violates international law. The proposal states that illegal migration would become a crime for which individuals could face up to four years in prison. At the same time, the government could send asylum seekers abroad while assessing their applications. According to the media, ministers have discussed refugee centers in, for example, Rwanda, Gibraltar, or Ascension Island, which lies in the Atlantic Ocean.
Title image: In this Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021 file photo, Britain’s Home Secretary Priti Patel speaks during a media briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic in Downing Street, London. The British government plans to give itself powers to turn asylum seekers back at sea or send them abroad while their claims are processed, measures intended to deter migrants making perilous journeys across the English Channel in small boats. The Nationality and Borders Bill, introduced in Parliament on Tuesday, July 6, 2021, could pave the way for migrants to be held outside the U.K., a highly contentious idea modelled on Australia’s island detention centers. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool, File)