Immigration and migrant chaos is not just a U.S. southern border issue. The recent deaths of at least 27 people in the English Channel fuel tensions between the U.K. and France over how to stop migrants from crossing the world’s busiest waterway in small boats.
Despite a pledge from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron that they would “do everything possible” to stop people smugglers from endangering lives, politicians on both sides of the Channel are already sniping at their counterparts for failing to prevent Wednesday’s tragedy.
U.K. officials criticize France for rejecting their offer of British police and border officers to conduct joint patrols along the channel coast with French police. French authorities say Britain is stoking the crisis because it is too easy for migrants to remain in the country and work if they manage to cross the Channel.
Amid the finger-pointing, while British lawmakers debate the soaring number of migrants who are crossing the Channel in small boats, Macron is scheduled to discuss the issue with European Union officials.
See a BBC video report below.
The price to cross the English Channel varies according to the network of smugglers, between 3,000 and 7,000 euros. Often, the fee also includes a very short-term tent rental in the windy dunes of northern France and food cooked over fires that sputter in the rain that falls for more than half the month of November in the Calais region. Sometimes, but not always, it includes a life vest and fuel for the outboard motor.
And the people who collect the money – up to 300,000 euros ($432,000) per boat that makes it across the narrows of the Channel – are not the ones arrested in the periodic raids along the coastline. They are just what French police call “the little hands.” Learn more here.
The Dover Strait is the world’s busiest shipping lane, and more than 25,700 people have completed the dangerous journey to the U.K. this year. That’s three times the total for 2020.
Meanwhile, according to the French president, more than 47,000 attempted crossings have taken place, with 7,800 migrants rescued from the water since 1 January 2021. Macron said: “France will not let the Channel become a graveyard.” Learn more here and see the shocking summary chart of the UK France channel crossing for the past three years below.
Enver Solomon, chief executive of the Refugee Council, urged the government to rethink its approach to migration.
“Surely a tragedy of this magnitude is the wake-up call our government needs to change its approach and finally commit to an expansion of safe routes for those men, women, and children in desperate need of protection,” he said.
As in the case at the U.S. southern border, perhaps the real answer for the migrant channel crisis is to enforce national borders with legal immigration in the first place. The chaos will continue until government authorities act to do so.
See more #chartoftheday posts.
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