Plans to fly at least 1,000 migrants back to Italy, Germany and France
19th September 2020

In by boat… out by PLANE: Priti Patel plans weekly flights to take Channel migrants back to Italy, Germany and France – with at least 1,000 individuals already placed on removal list

  • Home Office plans to fly at least 1,000 people back to Italy, Germany and France
  • More than 6,000 asylum seekers have crossed the English Channel this year 
  • The department described the scale of crossings as ‘thoroughly unacceptable’ 

The Home Office is planning to fly at least 1,000 migrants who crossed the English Channel back to Italy, Germany and France in a series of weekly flights.

More than 6,000 refugees have crossed from France in crowded dinghies so far this year.

Officials have described the crossings as ‘thoroughly unacceptable,’ as Home Secretary Priti Patel plans to fly the arrivals back to Europe on a weekly basis, according to The Telegraph.  

The Immigration Enforcement Secretariat said the Government and Ms Patel are ‘equally frustrated by the severity of the situation’. 

Home Secretary Priti Patel is looking to send 1,000 migrants back to Europe having crossed The Channel

More than 6,000 refugees have crossed the English Channel so far this year, mostly in overcrowded dinghies

The Government office warned it cannot take simple measures such as returning migrants after intercepting them at sea, due to legal constraints. 

Talks are ongoing to get more UK funded officers on French beaches to prevent people trying to make the dangerous crossing.

The 1,000 migrants who would be flown back to Europe would be returning to countries where they have already had asylum claims granted. 

Around 400 people including families, believed to have crossed the Channel in small boats, are to be housed in temporary accommodation at Napier Barracks in Folkestone, Kent, from next week

Only 29 arriving migrants were sent back to France in 2019. 

The Immigration Enforcement Secretariat official told The Telegraph: ‘There is considerable policy work underway to address where the UK’s immigration and asylum system is being exploited and abused… As it currently stands, the system is inflexible and rigid, and is open to abuse by both migrants and activist lawyers to frustrate the returns of those who have no right to be here.’

Earlier this week it was revealed the Home Office was eyeing up two former army bases as temporary sites to house refugees while their asylum claims are processed.

Around 400 refugees, including families, will be kept at the Napier Barracks in Folkestone, Kent, after the site was also offered to the Home Office by the Ministry of Defence.

The MoD has also offered Penally Training Camp in Wales, more than 300 miles away from the English Channel.

Penally Training Camp in Wales could be used to house 250 refugees, who have crossed the English Channel, while their asylum claims are processed

It could house 250 asylum seekers.

A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘During these unprecedented times, the government is working with a range of partners and across departments to secure further accommodation and the MoD has offered use of some of its sites.

‘When using contingency accommodation we work closely with organisations, including local authorities and law enforcement, throughout the process to ensure value for money and that vulnerable asylum seekers, who would otherwise be destitute, have suitable accommodation while their claims are processed.’

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