Most Channel Crossing Migrants Are Refugees Fleeing Persecution, Research Finds

Most migrants crossing the Channel to the UK are refugees fleeing persecution, according to an analysis by campaigners.

Research from the Refugee Council indicates that around a third of men, women and children making the journey would not be allowed to stay in the UK and that “the majority of those crossing the Channel are likely to be found to be in need of protection”. . at the initial decision stage.

The findings come as one of the Government’s immigration ministers Tom Pursglove and underground channel threat commander Dan O’Mahoney are due to appear before MPs today (Wednesday).

Using statistics from the Home Office and data obtained through freedom of information laws, the charity said it found that between January 2020 and June this year, 91% of migrants came from 10 countries where human rights abuses and persecution are common – including Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Eritrea and Yemen.

The charity’s research indicates that, overall, for the top 10 countries of origin arriving by small boat, 61% of initial decisions made in the 18 months to June 2021 would have resulted in the granting of the protection of refugees.

Home Secretary Priti Patel last month claimed that 70 per cent of people traveling to the UK across the Channel were “not genuine asylum seekers” and that the government “focuses” its efforts on “creating safe passage for genuine refugees”.



Home Secretary Priti Patel has claimed that 70% of people traveling to the UK across the Channel are “not genuine asylum seekers”.

Speaking to the Lords Justice and Home Affairs Committee, she said: ‘In the last 12 months alone, 70% of people who have entered our country illegally via small boats are single men, who are in fact migrants economic. They are not genuine asylum seekers.

“They are able to pay the smugglers… They are the ones evicting women and children, who are in danger and fleeing persecution.”

Refugee Council chief executive Enver Solomon said: ‘The reality is that people who come to the UK on terrifying journeys in small boats across the English Channel do so because they are desperate for safety after fleeing persecution, terror and oppression.

“This government should show compassion by welcoming those in need of refugee protection rather than seeking to cruelly push them back across the Channel or punish them with imprisonment. At the same time, there must be an ambitious expansion of safe routes so that people do not have to take dangerous journeys to reach safety.

The charity has called on the government to rethink its Nationality and Borders Bill, which is pending in Parliament and intends to make it a criminal offense to knowingly arrive in the UK without permission.

This means that, for the first time, how a person enters the UK – legally or ‘illegally’ – will have an impact on the progress of their asylum claim and their status in the UK if that claim is successful. .

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has also called for the legislation to be repealed, warning it could worsen the mental health of refugees and migrants.

Separate research suggests that rates of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among detained refugees and migrants are about twice as high as among those not in immigration detention.

The evidence review published in the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ journal BJPsych Open analyzed nine studies conducted over the past two decades focusing on the UK, US, Canada, Australia and Switzerland .

Some 23,075 refugees and migrants were detained in the UK between April 2019 and March 2020, according to Home Office figures.

A department spokesman said the UK had a ‘long history of welcoming people in need’ but ‘we must end dangerous travel’, adding: ‘Our new plan for immigration provides the only long-term solution to fix the broken system and that is why we are changing the law to deter illegal entry and break the murderous smuggler business model.

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