Asylum, migration and crossing the Channel

It is well known that the Home Secretary Priti Patel has pledged to make Channel crossings ‘unviable’ with new legislation which will make it a crime to knowingly arrive in Britain without permission.  The Nationality and Borders Bill which is currently being pushed through parliament will mean migrants entering without permission could face up to four years in prison.

Problems worldwide are however forcing more and more people to leave their homes and me must defend their right to be able to come here.  The total number of asylum seekers applying in Britain has dropped considerably since the early 2000’s but even if there are more refugees looking to seek asylum there should be the infrastructure in place to support them all.

War, poverty and persecution are some of the many reasons why thousands flee to Britain even though a bureaucratic asylum system with derelict accommodation and a racist government await those who attempt the long and perilous journey, often escaping horrific situations to get to safety.

Despite Priti Patel’s many protests refugees simply cannot ‘just go home’ to war-torn countries where they probably face death or torture.

One refugee who escaped from Yemen told how he was forced to leave in April 2018, and then spent three years on the Greek island of Chios in the so called ‘jungle’ camp and then travelled to Britain where he was recently given refugee status. It is known that Yemen has been witnessing the worst humanitarian crisis in the world for the last five or six years because of war. There are many problems and the country is divided.  Militias are controlling different parts of Yemen and if anyone opposes them because of thoughts or beliefs they can be exposed to persecution or death and are often jailed for long periods or they are tortured.  Many people in Yemen are left with no choice and have to leave to escape the situation and start a new life in other countries.

To claim asylum in Europe for refugee status, asylum seekers have to get here.  However, travelling by lawful routes requires vias and there are not visas available for those fleeing persecution.  A very small number of refugees are permitted to resettle from refugee camps.  Only one per cent worldwide are granted refugee status through his method.

Priti Patel wants to send migrants back over Europe’s borders even though  EU law or the 1951 Refugee Convention does not require a refugee to claim asylum in the first safe country in which they arrive.

The EU’s Dublin Regulations allows one EU country to require another to accept responsibility for an asylum claim, but Britain is no longer bound by this.

Applications have dropped but wait times have gone up thought to be due to delays by the Home Office.  Fleeing torture for being a political opponent, or escaping from a death sentence for being LGBT+ will not stop because of the Home Secretary’s laws.

Every asylum seeker is hoping for a new and better life and if that includes a job, home and family, they should have the right to access this.  The majority of asylum seekers do not have the right to work and are forced to rely on state support.  Allowance is currently £39.63 per person, per week.  Many asylum seekers are left in limbo and dehumanised while they wait for news from the Home Office often for weeks, months or even years.

It is imperative that people are informed about the reality of the asylum system and why people make the dangerous journey with no ‘legal route’.