Dover refugees responseDover & Deal Lib Dem member, ROBEN FRANKLIN responds to Natalie Elphicke MP's comments on Kent Online in which she called for a crackdown to end migrant crossings....
In order to tackle criminal gangs taking advantage of refugees, Mrs Elphicke should be moving away from the xenophobic policies the Conservatives have installed into our immigration system and instead fix properly the broken system that is the Government. In Mrs Elphicke’s question, she discusses the horrible way children are being forced to take risks to enter the UK.
If Mrs Elphicke is serious about protecting children, then she should encourage the Government to invest in a non-political body to undertake the role of processing visa applications and make decisions efficiently and with equity. Further to this, fees for registering a child as a British citizen should be reduced from £1,012 to the admin cost of £372. This is crucial not only for the safety of the child but also the integration of migrant children into British society as they age and grow accustom into Dover’s values and those of the UK. Excluding them from their Britishness will only cause isolation from society and they will fall through the safety nets established by the Government.
However, we must do more for migrants who find themselves exploited by gangs and profiteers. We should Introduce a practical, smart implementation of labour market standards with a new Worker Protection Enforcement Authority (WPEA) to protect people both in and entering the country from slavery and trafficking. The WPEA and a non-political agency are needed to fix the immigration system, as judges must reverse 52% of Home Office decisions on immigration and asylum. Mrs Elphicke, we are sure, is genuine about ensuring pregnant women and children are not exploited, but returning boats to France will only continue the cycle of exploitation and misery.
As the Liberal Democrats have set out, there are alternative options available which can mitigate the experiences migrants encounter such as Home Office incompetency and failure or exploitation by gangs. Such options would spare the coast guards and border guards from having to witness such horrific scenes and pleas from desperate souls, while at the same time save the taxpayer from having to pay for the equipment and paperwork needed to return migrants . We urge Mrs Elphicke, for all involved, to encourage the Home Secretary to reform the system for the better, rather than a continuation of the pain and suffering already being felt by refugees."
15th June 2020