The government of Boris Johnson is contemplating placing networks in the sea in order to stop the pateras with immigrants arriving on its shores. In an interview with the “Sunday Telegraph”, Dan O’Mahoney, the special commander who was appointed in August by the Minister of the Interior, Priti Patel, to oversee anti-immigration operations, stated: “We are definitely very, very close to being able to implement a safe return tactic in which what we do is an intervention in the boats of immigrants, taking them aboard our ship back to France”. The networks they clog the propellers of the «small boats», as they are known in the UK, but they do not affect larger ships. However, the commander clarified that “the problem currently is that the French will not accept them back” to the country.
The idea of networking is part of a four-stage plan to address the problem of illegal migration through the English Channel, which has reached figures of up to 400 arrivals in a single day. According to official data, only in the first three weeks of September at least 1,892 migrants crossed the Channel from France, a number higher than the one reached in all of 2019. That year, at least 30% of the entry of undocumented immigrants to the United Kingdom occurred by sea, a figure that has increased to 70% during the 2020. Thus, with its new plan, the Government intends to stop the flow of immigrants from Africa and the Middle East to the north of France; reduce the number of people embarking from there to the British shores; prevent entry into the UK, and reform the asylum system.
Deaths at sea
O’Mahoney, a former senior officer in the Royal Marines and a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Kosovo, explained that the Executive is implementing measures such as campaigns on social networks to urge potential immigrants from Africa and the Middle East to apply for asylum. in the first safe country they arrive in, rather than risking dying on an ‘incredibly dangerous journey’ to reach the UK illegally.
‘The vast majority of people seeking refuge in the UK are genuine asylum seekers. And they come from countries with difficult conditions in their country ”, said O’Mahoney, so it is not about returning them to their place of origin, but about who apply for asylum in the first country they step on and also avoid feeding the mafias by paying for their trips. The commander noted that, in addition to protecting the borders, his priority is to prevent further deaths at sea.