France and the United Kingdom reached an agreement yesterday to jointly invest money in surveillance and detection methods of illegal immigrants trying to cross the English Channel and reach British lands. France will double the number of its police forces on the north coast, between the cities of Bolougne and Dunkirk, and around the port of Diepper, and will also increase air patrols to try to locate and then intercept as many illegal boats as possible carrying migrants. to the UK.
London, for its part, will finance the measures, which also include providing money for refugee camps in French territory, and will invest 62.7 million euros between this year and the next, as stated yesterday after a meeting the French Interior Minister, Gerald Darmanin, and his British counterpart, Priti Patel. Many of the measures will be implemented in French territory to prevent the departure of boats to the British Isles and France assured yesterday that it had prevented 7,500 people from reaching the United Kingdom since last year and so far in 2021.
Last Monday at least 430 people crossed the English Channel to England, including women and minors. This figure so far marks the record for the largest number of people who have done it in one day.
At least 8,452 people crossed the English Channel in boats so far this year, already exceeding the total figure recorded in all of 2020, according to the British Press Association news agency. The British Government has taken many steps in recent months to make the country a less attractive place for illegal immigration and has tightened sanctions against all agents and organizations involved in illegal human trafficking.
France, for its part, announced yesterday that it will also strengthen the controls and troops deployed on its borders with Spain and Italy.
According to the British Home Office, aid given by London to Paris last year allowed France to double the number of its agents on the northern beaches. That allowed, according to the same source, that the number of illegals who arrived on the islands fell this year by half compared to the same period last year. However, in the face of increased surveillance migrant movement mafias are moving their operations further north on the French coast, thus increasing the distance they have to travel and the risks.
The new collaboration agreements do not imply that the French can intervene on the high seas, although the British authorities have suggested to Paris that they organize joint patrols. According to the BBC, France’s response is that “for now they are not prepared to intervene at sea, only on land”, on their territory, before the emigrants set sail.
Instead, the new Franco-British deal means that London’s aid will allow Paris to “station more police on the north coast, and use state-of-the-art technology.”
British Minister Victoria Atkins told the BBC that the government wants “safe routes for legal migrants”, and to dismantle criminal organizations that engage in human trafficking.
In reality, the Johnson government also threatens to increase penalties against illegal detainees when they arrive in the British Isles. The Nationality and Borders Law, which is being debated in Parliament, contemplates penalties of up to four years in prison for those who try to enter the country without papers. The government hopes that this legislation will be a deterrent to illegals, but NGOs such as “Rrefugee Action” have described it as “radical and despicable.”