Migration Watch chair Alp Mehmet has warned that the number of illegal crossings in the UK Channel will “go up and up” because it is “easy money” for the people traffickers. It came after witness reports suggested at least 1000 migrants had attempted to cross in one day, hitting a new record. The surge of new arrivals on the British coasts is believed to have sparked a furious reaction from Home Secretary Priti Patel, who threatened to withhold £54 million previously pledged to France.
Mr Mehmet told talkRADIO host Julia Hartley-Brewer: “They certainly are. The last couple of times I’ve spoken, I’m sure -I know I’ve said that unless we start returning those who arrive, it’s going to go up and up and that’s exactly what’s happening.
“It’s easy money. Why wouldn’t they do it?
“The moment they get onto a rickety Dengie onto the high seas, they’re rescued by us.
“They’re brought to our shores, and they never go back.”
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“I’m afraid so long as that continues. It will all go up and up.”
Ms Hartley-Brewer said: “Now I’ve already seen messages on social media this morning saying why are we rescuing them.
“Why is this happening?
“It does seem bizarre that we’re able to spot them in the water, but the French Navy isn’t and the French Navy could rescue them.
She continued: “People in very small boats that are being massively overloaded, that are at risk.
“I’m sorry. I really have got no truck for the people who say, ‘Oh, we’ll just leave them to drown. That’ll send a message.
‘I’m sorry. These are human beings.
“I don’t want them to be arriving in our country illegally, but I also don’t want them to die.
She went on: “Call me old-fashioned. I actually have some values left.
“But the fundamental thing is if our Navy can spot them, how come the French Navy can’t?”
Mr Mehmet said in response: “The fact is that that’s exactly the point. If we’re able to pick them up, why don’t the French actually become a little more aware sooner than they appear to rather than tell us that they’re in our waters?
“Perhaps they should be going out and taking the pack, but that I’m afraid it’s a political issue.”