British Home Secretary Priti Patel said on Thursday that the English Channel disaster, which killed 27 migrants, was shocking but not surprising. And she warned that there is no quick solution to the migration crisis.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Patel noted that the deaths of migrants “remind us that vulnerable people are put at risk by gangs” who make money by sending them across the sea to Britain in small, overcrowded boats.
“There is no quick fix,” she said. “It’s about tackling the long-term factors, dismantling the gangs that treat people as merchandise, and breaking + supply + chains.” She stressed that the UK needed to work with other countries, especially France, to tackle the crisis of small boats transporting illegal immigrants because “we cannot do it alone”. And it announced that it had once again offered France to conduct joint patrols in English waters and on the French coast.
The British government has long suggested that smuggling gangs are behind the rise in illegal immigration through the English and accuses France of not taking enough action to stop people from getting on the boat. On Thursday, most British newspapers made headlines about the incident with a picture of a large group of illegal immigrants carrying a buoy similar to the one that overturned on Wednesday in front of police eyes.
Patel said more than 20,000 crossings have been thwarted this year. The British authorities liquidated 17 organized criminal groups, resulting in more than 400 arrests and 65 convictions. But she stressed, “we need to do more together.” Since the beginning of the year, nearly 26,000 people have entered Great Britain illegally through the English Channel. People – three times more than the whole last year.
“Crossing the English Channel in small boats is extremely dangerous, and yesterday came a moment that many of us have dreaded for many years. The criminals who facilitate these voyages are motivated by their own interests and profits rather than mercy. They threaten, intimidate and harass as they attack those on these boats and completely disregard human rights.”
She stressed that the United Kingdom does not rule out any option to solve the migration crisis. “The UK has a clear and generous humanitarian approach to asylum seekers and refugees,” she stressed. But she noted that it did not make sense to think that Britain could have “a policy in which we can accommodate everyone”.
On Thursday morning, another group of about 40 migrants arrived in Great Britain, who were rescued in the waters of the English Channel by patrol boats.
From London Bartłomiej Niedziński (PAP)
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