Record number of migrants across the Channel, French and British escalate the battle

France, with the support of the UK, will deploy additional resources in the fight against illegal immigration, with additional patrols on the northern coast between Boulogne and Dunkirk and towards the northwest around Dieppe, a press release from the British Foreign Secretary Patel’s Cabinet said. Additional surveillance technology will also be introduced on the French side to prevent crossing attempts, including airborne surveillance. Finally, investments will be made in infrastructure to increase safety.

Last year, France doubled the number of customers on its beaches, with the support of London. The country has also invested in technology and improved data sharing. As a result, the number of crossings can be avoided twice this year compared to last year. “As the French were able to block more crossings, the criminal gangs changed their tactics. They moved further away on the French coast and forced the migrants to follow longer and more dangerous routes,” the press release read. According to the BBC, nearly 8,000 people on 345 boats have arrived on the British coast since the start of the year.

The British Parliament is currently considering a bill from Patel to reform the asylum system. The goal is to discourage illegal immigration, including by treating asylum seekers who have entered the country legally or illegally differently. The prison sentences that migrants face if they want to return to the country illegally will also increase from six months to four years. People smugglers risk life in prison, compared to fourteen today.

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Megan Vasquez

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