Migrants who cross Channel into UK could be electronically tagged

Migrants arriving in UK after crossing Channel in small boats could be electronically tagged in bid to deter people from making journey

  • Ministers are drawing up plans to tag migrants during their application process
  • They are also considering introducing curfews in a bid to stop crossings surge
  • A record 28,020 migrants have been intercepted from the Channel this year 

Channel migrants could be electronically tagged upon their arrival in Britain under tough new plans to deter the dangerous crossings.

Ministers hope the proposals would help stifle the black market and help reduce the recent surge of migrants making the perilous journey to Britain on dinghies. 

Under the new measures, migrants of working age would be tagged and subjected to restrictions on their movements while their applications to remain are being processed, according to The Sun.

Channel migrants could be electronically tagged upon their arrival in Britain under tough new plans to deter the dangerous crossings. Pictured: migrants arrive in Dover on Wednesday 

Wednesday’s crossings took the tally for 2021 to a record breaking 28,020 – more than three times the 8,500 who made the journey in 2020, according to Home Office figures

Ministers drawing up the plans believe there is no short-term solution to stop the current influx but hope the measures would reduce numbers.

The Home Office and a new Cabinet Office taskforce are behind the proposals, and they are also considering introducing curfews.

It is believed that more than a million illegal immigrants are working in Britain and fuelling the black market.

A Home Office source said the new measures are a ‘low cost, high impact way to make changes quickly’.

A migrant celebrates after being intercepted by UK Border Force as they are brought into shore

At least 100 migrants, including a child wrapped in blankets and snow boots (pictured), were intercepted on Wednesday morning, despite temperatures plunging below freezing overnight

They added: ‘Illegal entry isn’t a punishment-free crime. Tagging will make it quicker and easier to deport those who have no right to be here.’ 

It comes as at least 100 migrants, including children wrapped in blankets and snow boots, were intercepted attempting to cross the Channel on Wednesday despite temperatures plunging below freezing overnight.  

It took the tally for 2021 to a record breaking 28,020 – more than three times the 8,500 who made the crossing in 2020, according to Home Office figures. 

The first group of around 25 people were rescued after braving the bitter chill to navigate the 21-mile Dover Strait in pitch black darkness overnight.

An RNLI crew brought them into Dungeness, Kent, on board a lifeboat shortly after 4.30am.

Migrants are seen on UK Border Force vessel HMC Speedwell, after they were picked up at sea

On board were at least two women – with one seen holding the hand of a boy aged around six. 

The group stood on the shingle to be processed by Immigration Enforcement, with police officers and coastguard personnel also in attendance.

Crossings also continued back at Dover Marina, Kent, where Border Force cutter Speedwell docked at around 9.30am with a further 30 people on board.  

What happens to migrants after they arrive in the UK? 

Migrants who have been picked up after landing or intercepted at sea are taken to a Border Force processing centre, usually near Dover 

Here arrivals are triaged to identify any medical needs or vulnerabilities, fed and checked to see if they have a criminal record. Adults have an initial interview before being sent to accommodation centre across Britain, paid for by UK taxpayers and provided by private contractors.

The migrants are given £37.75 per week for essentials like food, clothes and toiletries while they wait for a decision on their asylum application. Kent County Council normally takes unaccompanied children into its care, although other local authorities are also involved in this programme.

Other migrants might be kept in a detention centre ahead of a plan to send them back to Europe. However, just five were deported last year as ministers admitted to ‘difficulties’.  

Migrants are regularly intercepted in the area, despite it being one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.  

The group, all men who were wearing life jackets, were seen smiling and waving as they were brought ashore.

Pictures also showed one freezing individual wrapped in a towel while he was being pushed in a wheelchair by Border Force officers. 

The Dover Lifeboat – the RNLB City of London II – then returned to harbour shortly afterwards at around 10am with another 30 migrants on board after attempting to make the crossing in a large inflatable boat.

Speedwell arrived back at Dover Marina at 10.30am with a further 20 people on board, including a tiny baby wrapped up in a blanket.

The arrivals took the total number of people to make the crossing so far in December to 1,409 in 47 boats. 

That is more than six times the 211 who arrived in 16 boats throughout the same month last year. 

Despite calmer conditions in the early hours, the weather at sea has turned treacherous with high winds making the already dangerous journey almost unviable.

However, there are ongoing search and rescue missions in the Channel with both large Border Force vessels Searcher and Hurricane on standby.

French authorities also prevented at least 86 people from reaching the UK in four events on Tuesday, according to the Home Office. 

Small boat crossings had briefly stopped due to high winds and strong tides in recent weeks, but have since restarted due to calmer waters in the Channel. 

A total of 27 people, including seven women and a seven-year-old girl, are thought to have died when their boat sank during an attempted crossing.  

Dan O’Mahoney, Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, said: ‘Last month’s tragedy is a devastating reminder of the dangers of Channel crossings and we are determined to work with our European and international partners to target the ruthless organised criminal gangs behind them.

‘Unbelievably, these gangs continue their deadly trade with more crossings taking place today, shamelessly putting lives at risk.

A migrant is escorted past dinghies used for crossings into the Port of Dover by Border Force officials after being rescued while crossing the English Channel, in Dover

‘People planning to make the journey should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach instead of risking their lives by crossing the Channel from a safe EU country.

‘The Government’s New Plan for Immigration will be firm on those coming here via illegal routes and fair for those using safe and legal routes. This will reduce the pull factors in the current asylum and immigration system.’

It came as the Inspectorate of Prisons and the Dover and Heathrow Independent Monitoring Boards (IMB) – made up of volunteers tasked by ministers – published their findings on migrant detention facilities visited in the last three months.

Women who said they had been raped by smugglers were ‘not adequately supported’ and lone children were being held with unrelated adults, the report said.

Tom Pursglove, minister for justice and tackling illegal migration, said: ‘For nearly two decades the public have been crying out for the broken asylum system to be reformed and that’s what this Government is delivering.

‘The Nationality and Borders Bill, which was backed by a majority of 67 MPs this month, will make it a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in the UK illegally, and introduce life sentences for those who facilitate illegal entry into the country. 

‘The sooner the House of Lords passes the Bill in the new year, the sooner we can break the business model of the people smugglers, protect those in genuine need of asylum, and ensure the swift removal of those with no right to be here.’

Last month, Priti Patel also vowed to stop ‘100 per cent’ of migrant crossings after online crisis talks with her French counterparts. 

A joint statement released by the Home Office also said they also discussed the mounting migrant crisis in eastern Europe which Britain accused Belarus and Russia of engineering to undermine European unity.

Miss Patel and Mr Darmanin said: ‘Tonight, the Home Secretary spoke to her French counterpart Gerald Darmanin to discuss the problem of small boats crossing the Channel and the operational response to it.

‘Both the Home Secretary and Interior Minister agreed to strengthen operational cooperation further. More must be done to stop the dangerous crossings. They agreed to accelerate the delivery of the commitments made in the joint agreement of July 2021 to deliver on their joint determination to prevent 100 per cent of crossings and make this deadly route unviable.’

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