The surge of new arrivals illegally entering Britain via the English Channel over the past few years has threatened cultural cohesiveness, and the British government should “heed the warning” of anti-mass migration protests across the country, U.K. Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick has claimed.
In a speech at the Policy Exchange think tank on Tuesday, the Conservative minister said that mass irregular migration will be one of the defining characteristics of the 21st century. He said that while Britain has previously been shielded to an extent from the wider crisis affecting Europe due to its geographical proximity, just across the English Channel, which he states was “once a barrier more impenetrable than any wall,” the stretch of water is now seen as a “gateway for those in search of better economic prospects” due to living in an age of “cheap manufactured goods, transnational smuggling gangs, and instant communications.”
Jenrick warned attendees of the “damaging effects on social trust and cohesion from uncontrolled migration,” and spoke of meeting with local residents of the affected area of Dover in southeast England where the majority of illegal migrants land who he said now feel “abandoned by the authorities and estranged from their neighborhood.”
“Put simply: Excessive, uncontrolled migration threatens to cannibalize the compassion of the British public,” the minister said.
“Those crossing tend to have completely different lifestyles and values to those in the U.K. — and tend to settle in already hyper-diverse areas, undermining the cultural cohesiveness that binds diverse groups together and makes our multi-ethnic democracy successful.
“The current numbers of people arriving here illegally surpass any reasonable number the state could be expected to provide for or integrate successfully into our national community,” he added.
Jenrick offered his remarks as the government prepares to bring its Illegal Migration Bill back to parliament on Wednesday, legislation the minister claimed would “end this injustice of illegal migration and secure our borders.”
He explained the new law enables the detention of illegal arrivals, without bail or judicial review within the first 28 days of detention, until they can be removed. New powers will also be conferred to make provisions to scientifically assess the age of migrants claiming to be minors, “and in certain circumstances allows us to take an automatic assumption of adulthood from those who refuse a scientific age assessment.”
“The bill has a simple principle: If you arrive in the U.K. illegally there should be no route to a life in the U.K.
“You will be returned home or removed to a safe third country – and once removed, only in the most exceptional of circumstances will those that have arrived illegally be permitted leave to enter the U.K.,” Jenrick added.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman defended Jenrick’s remarks on Wednesday morning’s media cycle amid outrage from humanitarian groups and left-wing campaigners.
“I think that the people coming here illegally do possess values which are at odds with our country,” Braverman stated when asked for her opinion on her minister’s speech.
“We are seeing heightened levels of criminality when related to the people who’ve come on boats related to drug dealing, exploitation, prostitution.
“There are real challenges which go beyond the migration issue of people coming here illegally. We need to ensure that we bring an end to the boat crossings,” she added.