Immigration: Theresa May Pledges to Stop Exodus from Arab Spring Coming to UK

Christopher Hope, Telegraph (London), June 6, 2011

The Home Secretary was inspecting cross-Channel border controls, and security at Calais and the Channel Tunnel, with the French interior minister Claude Guéant today.

Mrs May said she was concerned about people from North African countries caught up in the Arab Spring unrest trying to settle in Britain.

Although the exodus had not yet reached Britain, she said: “We need to look ahead at what might happen in the future.” European countries should look to stem the migrant flow at its source, she said.

She added: “We very much feel that we should be working with countries in North Africa, like Tunisia, to provide practical support through the EU for them to be able to exercise controls on their borders.”

Mrs May said Britain wanted to co-operate practically with France to ensure that North Africans did not try to come to Britain.

Joint operations between UK and French officials have already helped cut the number of people trying to get to Britain from the Port of Calais by 70 per cent, she said.

Mrs May said “strong practical action was needed”, adding: “We need lasting practical co-operation and not burden-sharing.”

Under the Schengen Agreement, citizens in 25 mainland European Union (EU) nations are allowed to travel across borders without having their passports checked.

Tensions have risen over the fleeing migrants after Italy handed more than 25,000 Tunisians temporary permits to travel, effectively giving them unobstructed travel around the 25 EU nations. The UK and Ireland are not part of the agreement.

Mrs May also said she was focused on ensuring that illegal immigrants did not try to use the 2012 Olympics as a reason to get into the UK.

She said: “We have a joint cause in trying to ensure we stop illegal immigration and in making sure access to the Olympics is secure.”

The Home Secretary also defended the work of the UK Border Agency (UKBA), which was described as “not fit for purpose” by MPs last week. They accused the agency of running an “amnesty” for asylum seekers in an attempt to clear a historic backlog of 450,000 cases.

But Mrs May said the UKBA was “doing an extremely good job” and added that the coalition Government had inherited the backlog from Labour.

Shadow Home Office minister Gerry Sutcliffe said the immigration system was “in disarray”.

He said: “Practical international cooperation is undoubtedly crucial for the effective policing of our borders but it will take more than a visit to Calais to get the fair enforcement of immigration controls right.”

Mrs May is expected to unveil plans for a new National Crime Agency, bringing together officers from the Serious Organised Crime Agency, the police and UKBA in the next few days.

Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands by 2015 but figures released last week showed it hit 242,000 at the end of last year–its highest level in more than five years.

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  • Anonymous

    “Under the Schengen Agreement, citizens in 25 mainland European Union (EU) nations are allowed to travel across borders without having their passports checked.”

    Nonsense! Everyone must show their passport, regardless of where they travel in order to IDENTIFY YOURSELF. The Schengen agreement simply means that tourists may stay a combined total of 90 days during any six month period in any of the countries without having to obtain a visa.

    Note here…..the UK and Ireland are not part of the Schengen agreement. So while I was in Germany last year, I popped over to the UK for some lengthy stays since it stops the clock on the Schengen agreement. (Americans can stay as tourists for up to six months in the UK without a visa.)

    In this way, I was able to stay in Germany from early February till June, as long as I spent part of the time in the UK. The round trip air fare from Hamburg to Edinburg was less than 30 Euros. Heck, the train to Hamburg cost more than that…..and it was not round trip.

  • Anonymous

    Ultimately, repatriation will have to happen.

    Whether it is voluntary or by force, the non-whites will have to leave Britain.

  • Skipper

    The European nations have to stand down their refugee programs and deport those people (mostly fraudument) that are currently in refugee status. The potential number of refugees from the third world nations is essentially unlimited so they have to be cut off now. Italy’s giving travel permits to 25,000 mostly young male Tunisians is incredibly reckless and they will cause mayhem throughout Europe.

  • 38specialady

    Are the Africans emigrating because they know they can get public assistance from the European countries (and the U.S. for that matter)? Likely so, and there lies the solution to the problem. Cut them off, make it undesirable and untenable for them to emigrate. They need to stay in their own countries and solve their own problems. Give a man a fish and feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. We’re running out of fish!

  • patthemick

    I notice there’s nothing like a revolution to help your asylum claim. We are going to have to bite the bullet and send people home who very well may be shot by the winning side or just accept the invasion of our homelands.