Refugees in the English Channel: What should London do?
According to official reports around 230 refugees tried to cross the Channel to get to Britain from France in December. On 25 December alone, 40 migrants in a dinghy were rescued. Home Secretary Sajid Javid assigned more ships to the waters to patrol the border. Concern for human lives does not seem to be a primary concern in the view of commentators.
Crocodile tears won't help
Politicians all over Europe are refusing to tackle the refugee issue at its roots, The Guardian criticises:
“There are hollow words and crocodile tears about the dangers of refugees risking their lives making hazardous sea crossings, yet our politicians have declined to offer them a safe alternative. This is the real crisis, not the hundred people who have crossed the Channel in the past few days. It is easy for these politicians to condemn the gangs of traffickers cashing in on human misery. But our governments could put these gangs out of business and alleviate the mass of human suffering by opening up legal routes to sanctuary, shared fairly across every EU country. Instead of doing this they ramp up fears of the other by clamping down on a few dozen desperate refugees who are trying to reach our shores.”
British under no obligation to help
The refugees rescued in boats should not be able to apply for asylum in Britain, asserts The Daily Telegraph:
“The market for the traffickers' evil services would build. And for what? In order to get people and their families from one wealthy, western democracy – France – to another wealthy, western democracy – Britain. ... People who have spent any time in France, or any other democratic and civilised country between here and the migrants' home countries, have had ample time and opportunity to claim asylum there. ...But while we may agree with their preference, we are under no obligation, legal or oral, to offer asylum to those who have chosen the UK over France as their future home.”