The UK wants to use the military to ‘control’ immigrants on the English Channel

The UK wants to use the military to ‘control’ immigrants on the English Channel

The cross-border crossings between northern France and the south coast of England show no signs of abating, although this usually happens during the colder months. Statistics collected by the BBC from the British Home Office show that by 2021, at least 28,431 people have crossed the English Channel, more than three times the number recorded in 2020.

British government sources told the Guardian that Interior Minister Priti Patel had been in talks for several weeks about involving the army in the operation. This Monday, He himself confirmed it in Parliament, Will provide more details on this in the future. Marine Already came to say Boats carrying asylum seekers will not be illegally re-exported.

At the same time, there is no doubt that in the future, the UK may send asylum seekers to countries as far away as British Rwanda or Ghana. There, they will wait for a response to the asylum application, which will depend on British services, and if that request is accepted, in theory, these people will return to the UK.

When the British press broke the news about the intentions of the British government, Expresso spoke to some analysts about the case. But also in relation to the possibility of countries agreeing to establish these centers in their regions for the consideration of asylum cases.

Moving away from asylum processing centers is not a new idea

The New EU Migration Agreement (Still under discussion) actually refers to the need to create “deployment centers” for “expeditious processing” of asylum applications, the difference being that these centers will be established outside the EU’s borders, but not here. Thousands of people are miles away from where a potential refugee first applied (in countries such as the European Union, Serbia, Bosnia and Turkey, where the operation is most likely to continue). The focus of the new agreement is on the voluntary return of expatriates and the expeditious processing of their asylum applications, with the aim of repatriation.

Aerial view of boats used by immigrants from northern France to England via the English Channel Pen Stansall / Getty Images

“I do not think it is possible for the EU to officially accept that these asylum processing centers should be built in African countries or on the islands in the Mediterranean, but the existing agreements, Libya and Turkey, are already concerned, they are just memorandums of understanding, not European law, international agreements,” he said. Not so, ”said Julia Mourão-Permoser, a researcher at the University of Innsbruck, who told The Express about migration in the area of ​​international law.

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This is a legal reading and has nothing to do with the reluctance of many member states to accept this measure. The researcher recalled that the subject had been talked about for almost 20 years before the news (or re-emergence) of this news about Denmark and the United Kingdom. Tony Blair was also the first to propose this outsourcing of the asylum application process [primeiro-ministro do Reino Unido de 1997 a 2007], In 2003; Then Germany, with Otto Schili [ministro do Interior de 1998 a 2005], 2005; Then with Italy [Silvio Berlusconi] Between 2008 and 2011. “When the 2015 crisis hit hard, Austria again referred to European partners as ‘regional landing sites’, but because of the lack of support it had garnered, President Sebastian Kurz sought bilateral talks, but not yet.

Migration control measures are old but have not had much of an impact on the decline in asylum applications

“Polls show that interest in immigration in the UK is declining. Since 2010, all government talks have called for a reduction in the number of emissions compared to net migration. In the first decades of this century many Europeans actually came. But then Brexit happened and Boris Johnson’s government canceled all previous number targets because it was no longer possible to enter the UK without a work visa. Now the focus is on illegal immigration and asylum applications, facing a new problem, ”Peter William Walsh of Oxford University’s Immigration Observatory told the Express at the time.

The inflatable boat on the English Channel was one of many thousands of people who used this waterway that separates France from the United Kingdom, and in some places is very narrow, no more than 20 km Photo by Don Kidwood / Getty Images

This is a focus, says the educator, and even at first glance there are some justifications, “If we take into account the number of people currently landing in the south of the UK, we have received 8500 people by the whole of 2020 and we have already surpassed that number in July this year. In 2019, 1800 people have come, and in 2018, 300 people. It distances itself from any “political or moral judgment” on the issue, but points to the facts: “Between 2014 and 2016, previous governments (David Cameron) and, after the referendum on Brexit victory, Theresa May, in July 2019, ousted the presidency from the Conservatives. Until the change) took very restrictive measures on asylum and immigration rights, all of which are still in place, and statistics show that these restrictions have had no effect on preventing anyone from seeking asylum in the UK.No significant change in the number of asylum applications or illegal immigrants before 2014. ” From 2014 (32,344) to 2015 (39,968) the number of applications for asylum in practice increased significantly and in 2016 (39,357) the practice remained unchanged, according to the Independence Movement.

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Johnson’s funny stunt?

Over the weekend, news broke that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was present May have used somewhat populist tactics In recent days he should try to divert attention from the scandals involved, i.e. the messages exchanged between the parties held at the government headquarters during the epidemic and the key financier who redesigned Johnson and his residence, suggesting that this is possible. Exchange of aids. One of them is the announcement that taxpayers will end their payments to the BBC in 2027.

With regard to the use of military channels in the English Channel, this is actually a plan put forward by the Government, which was discussed among the Ministers and is now with the Ministry of Defense. “The Home Secretary told the military that they must protect British territorial waters against illegal immigration. The first request for the Ministry of Defense to intervene came in 2020,” the Guardian wrote.

The same newspaper writes that Boris Johnson would give the Navy “priority” over all other “government ships” on the English Channel. It is not yet clear how this will work on the ground, but, in theory, the military will be allowed to use a variety of sophisticated surveillance options available only to military vessels, speedboats and military boats.

It is not the opinion that these tools and the information they generate are used to assist the Coast Guard in its mission. But there is one aspect that is particularly critical: if the government proposes that Coast Guard agents go on strike or refuse to use illegal tactics such as returning to French waters, the military could intervene in the English Channel’s expatriate flows. – A procedure called “pushback” in these legal documents assumes that an asylum seeker cannot apply for it because he or she has returned to the country of travel in order to obtain that protection.

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Tactically, military speedboats and other vehicles such as jet-skis could be used to block the route and divert people away, but this has not yet been done – at least not with substantial complaints from NGOs or the police. The unions have already expressed themselves “completely against” the “pushback” practice.

The Minister of Education came to say that he supports the project. “It is a good idea to have all forces under the same command and control, which includes not only military vessels but also the Coast Guard, so there is a concerted effort on the issue of inflatable boats,” Nadeem Jahawi said. The fact that there are “legal avenues” for immigration is a testament to the fact that he is the son of immigrants like Priti Patel.

What is not clear from the talks is that legal and safe avenues are disappearing today, or according to Amnesty International researchers who prepared a report on the subject precisely at the request of British parliamentarians. Not anymore.

Mark Cervotka, leader of one of the Coast Guard unions, once again said in a statement that he was against any move to deport people. “Putting the army under the command of the Border Force is a ridiculous ploy. The ‘pushback’ policy is illegal and the union will pursue the matter for judicial review to prevent its implementation. This is a political ploy designed to divert the attention of Boris Johnson’s weak government. Our agents do not need military supervision to do their job.

Enver Solomon, executive director of the UK Refugee Council, quoted the “Telegraph” as saying, “to drive out the military.” [pessoas vulneráveis] Trying to drive them away is cruel and inhumane. In Solomon’s view, the Johnson government is “using distrustful tactics” because it “could not find solutions that would guarantee an orderly, manageable and fair asylum system.”

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About the Author: Morton Obrien

"Reader. Infuriatingly humble travel enthusiast. Extreme food scholar. Writer. Communicator."

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