Sangeetha was invited onto LBC News on 7th August 2020 to discuss the sharp rise in migrant crossings across the Channel and the Home Secretary’s management of the situation. In the hours before the radio interview, press reports suggested that the Home Secretary wanted to involve the Royal Navy to help manage the in-flow of Channel crossings.
Sangeetha explained that whilst it is correct that the numbers arriving by unsafe dinghies yesterday outdid the numbers arriving by boat in all of 2018, this ‘rise’ in Channel crossings is largely down to one thing – the absence of safe, legal pathways for asylum seekers to enter the UK. As it stands, asylum seekers cannot claim asylum from outside of the UK. They have to arrive onto UK territory in order to claim asylum.
The UK has spent hundreds of millions of pounds in Northern France to securitise its border and make it harder for migrants to enter the UK. What is plain from the statistics is that further securitisation does not deter migrants, it only forces them to make more dangerous journeys in order to enter the UK. Indeed, increased securitisation is not only ineffective as a border policy, it boosts demand for smugglers.
The service smugglers provide, for a fee, is to overcome a border. The harder that border becomes to cross, the higher the fee and the more lucrative smuggling operations become. We know from the Guardian’s report of the brutal tactics smugglers are using on migrants, holding them at gun point and knife point.
The solution is simple – create safe legal pathways for asylum seekers to come to the UK in order to save lives, kill demand for the smuggling industry and maintain our obligations under international law. Taking a punitive approach to irregular migration only ensures demand for organised crime.
Sangeetha welcomes the new Parliamentary Inquiry launched on 6th August to probe into Home Office management of it’s Southern border acknowledging that the tragedy unfolding on the UK’s coastline is not what anyone wants to see. It is hoped that this inquiry, the second in as many years, will help guide the Home Secretary in better managing her border policy. Our border policy is currently providing fertile ground for the smuggling industry.