Wacky ideas that government sources have exposed on migrant crossings


Last week, newspapers reported that government sources accused France of letting migrants cross the Channel as a “punishment for Brexit”.

This week we are told that the UK may house more migrants in army barracks as a deterrent.

Rarely does a week go by in Westminster without there being a story about who is to blame or how this government will stop people from making the perilous journey.

The measures range from sending migrants for treatment in remote areas to wave machines in the English Channel.

While some media hail ideas as an “anti-migrant armada,” little seems to have changed, with migrants continuing to cross in record numbers.

The number of small boat landings this year has reached 25,000, three times last year.

Home Secretary Priti Patel is now under increasing pressure from her own party to stop inflatable boat crossings and the Prime Minister has ordered an intergovernmental review of the crisis led by Minister Steve Barclay.

Labor called Patel “incompetent” and the Sun reports that she “is fighting to stay in her job”. Meanwhile, the FT reports that conservatives fear the creation of a new right-wing political party in response to this problem.

However, some commentators argue that the problem is magnified in an attempt to deflect attention from the sordid allegations engulfing the government.

What is inevitable is that people risk their lives to cross the busiest seaway in the world.

Below, the HuffPost UK brings you all the ideas that have emerged under Boris Johnson’s government.

Such radical proposals are not necessarily new ideas within the Conservative Party – similar projects have been launched in the past.

When he was shadow Home Secretary 18 years ago, Sir Oliver Letwin said asylum seekers could be automatically deported to a foreign island “far, far away” for treatment. The idea collapsed when he admitted that he had no “clue” to where this island would be.

Wave machines

One of the most extraordinary ideas that was reported by the press was that of the so-called “wave machines” in the English Channel.

The head office is said to have “considered” using boats with pumps that could generate waves in “blue sky thinking” conversations about how to handle crossings.

However, questions have been raised regarding the risk of overturning people in crowded and dangerous boats.

Other ideas included creating a chain of small boats to form a barrier and putting up a dam to prevent canoes from reaching the UK.

Retired ferries

Another idea brought up at Whitehall would be the treatment of migrants on disused ferries moored off the coast.

According to reports from last year, the government was considering purchasing retired ferries and converting them into asylum processing centers.

A 40-year-old disused ferry can be bought in Italy for £ 6million and could accommodate 1,400 people in 141 cabins, according to the Times. Meanwhile, a disused cruise ship could cost £ 116million and accommodate 2,417 people in 1,000 cabins.

Disused oil platforms

Headquarters are also said to have had discussions about moving migrants to decommissioned oil rigs in the North Sea for processing.

The idea was apparently discussed during a brainstorming session in Whitehall, but ministers decided it was a ‘no go’.

However, the Times said a plan to move them to ships was considered “more realistic.”

Army barracks

More asylum seekers could be accommodated in army barracks rather than hotels to deter migrants from crossing the Channel, the Telegraph said this week.

The government’s new task force is said to be looking at the plans and whether migrants’ benefits could be cut.

Official figures show that around 8,700 migrants were accommodated in almost 90 different hotels across the UK in February. Ministers will consider whether to accommodate these migrants in more military barracks than in hotels.

Currently, the Napier barracks in Kent are used to accommodate migrants.

Ascension and Saint Helena

At one point, Downing Street reportedly asked authorities to consider sending asylum seekers to the South Atlantic Islands of Ascension and St Helena, which are British overseas territories. .

Concerns have been expressed about the sheer complexity of such an initiative – which would entail enormous costs and legal ramifications. Ministers apparently continued to dismiss the ideas as unrealistic.

Downing Street also reportedly asked Foreign Ministry officials to investigate the possibility of building detention centers to process asylum seekers in Moldova, Morocco or Papua New Guinea, but they were also rejected.

Gibraltar and the Isle of Man

Gibraltar, a British overseas territory, and the Isle of Man, a Crown dependency, were also discussed by officials.

However, their political leaders angrily torpedoed the idea earlier this year and called on Patel to make sure they were not used as treatment centers.

Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo called it “baseless speculation”, while Isle of Man Chief Minister Howard Quayle said he believed Patel may have had them. made a joke at the start of April Fool’s Day.

Armored jet skis

Patel apparently ordered officials to intercept migrants in the English Channel using jet skis, according to The Sun.

The plans seen by the newspapers show that the border forces officers will try to return boats to France using armored and powerful “personal watercraft”.

However, the former head of the navy, Admiral Lord West, said it would be dangerous. He said it was an “accident waiting to happen” and would be “problematic”.

Scottish islands

The Times reported in October last year that there had been discussions about the treatment of migrants on an island off the coast of Scotland

Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon was furious at the idea, describing it as treating humans “like cattle in a pen”.

She tweeted: “They can rest assured that any proposal to treat human beings like cattle in a pen will meet the strongest possible opposition from me. “

Albania

The latest proposal is apparently to fly those crossing the Channel to Albania.

Reports claim that under the plan, arrivals to British beaches in small boats would be taken to the country within seven days for treatment at sea.

The government believes that a long wait for treatment would act as a deterrent against crossing.

However, Albania has vigorously denied being willing to deal with people with Prime Minister Edi Rama, saying he “would never accept refugees for richer countries”.

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