Speaking for Ourselves

Channel crossings: time to change course

Channel crossings: time to change course


 Migrant Voice - Channel crossings: time to change course

Tuesday August 31, 2021

It’s time to change course. The ill-thought-out strategy of trying to deter asylum seekers from crossing the Channel, pursued by this and previous governments over the past many years, doesn’t work. 

The many restrictions introduced – measures to try to deter asylum seekers from reaching the UK at any cost – are fundamentally wrong and merely add further risk to already dangerous journeys.

The new Nationality and Borders Bill which sets out to indefinitely penalise those who make their own journey to the UK is a continuation of this misdirected strategy. The recent revelation of a website set up by the Home Office giving misleading information to asylum seekers is another evidence of their negligent approach to human lives.

The government needs to change course and stop patrolling the sea in an attempt to deter desperate people and instead set up facilities to help people apply for asylum and provide more legal routes.

It is time to adopt a policy that takes into consideration the events in our world today whether political repression or environmental disaster and the reality of the situations from which people are fleeing. 

UK and Europe are going about this the wrong way: we cannot go on building walls in the face of desperate people.

You don’t resolve any of these issues by building walls. If people in danger are at your door, you should treat them like the human beings they are and give them sanctuary. We can’t pretend any more that the countries we are deporting people back to are safe when they aren’t.

Throughout history people have moved from place to place in search of safety. This isn’t just happening in the UK or Europe - in fact it’s not happening very much in UK or Europe as most people flee to neighbouring countries and the vast majority are in the global south.

It’s time to change course and welcome those in need of safety.

Image credit: Tim Reckmann/Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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