Following a rise in illegal migrant crossings at Dover last year, I am pleased to say that the Government will be setting out a new law to create a fairer immigration system.
As those who previously wrote to me on this subject will know, criminal gangs continue to exploit vulnerable asylum seekers. They are the victims and this barbaric practice must end.
The European Union’s own regulations stipulate that any asylum seeker arriving within the bloc must seek refuge in the first safe country they arrive in.
The EU have not effectively enforced their own rules. That is why we have seen so many asylum seekers reach the beaches of northern France and Belgium in their attempts to arrive in the UK.
Despite complex international maritime laws, the Government has already taken a number of steps to break human trafficking chains in partnership with the French authorities. This includes 24/7 coverage on the beaches with drones and Automatic Number-Plate Recognition, in addition to the Franco-British Operational Research Unit to help dismantle criminal gangs.
The new law will deliver the most significant overhaul of the asylum system in decades. This will ensure that those who enter the UK illegally are no longer placed on the same footing as those who entered legally; end the cycle of limitless appeals; provide simple, safe and secure accommodation; and correct historic anomalies in nationality law.
It will also help to tackle the criminal networks responsible for human trafficking and increase the removal of those with no right to remain in the UK, including foreign national offenders.
We are one of the most generous countries in protecting those in dire humanitarian need and we will continue to do so.
However, legal routes for asylum already exist and must be respected. The new law must work for both those who need help and the British public.