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Immigration Bill

Part of Bills Presented – in the House of Commons at 3:35 pm on 13th October 2015.

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Photo of Damian Collins Damian Collins Conservative, Folkestone and Hythe 3:35 pm, 13th October 2015

The hon. Lady can look at any number of reports made during the summer by various organisations that visited the camps. Why does the hon. Lady think that people are storming the channel tunnel at Coquelles every night? Why does she think people are storming the port of Calais? It is not because they have tickets, visas and passports to come here; it is because they are seeking to enter the country illegally. In doing so, it is clearly evident they are endangering their lives and the lives of other people who use those services too.

The people in the camps have the right, if they want help, to claim asylum where they are. They choose not to do so. Many people in that position are being exploited by very dangerous gangs who are moving people across Europe. The people who have the most to fear from the Bill are those who seek to exploit migrants coming to this country without papers. Migrants have been told not to claim asylum and that they will be looked after privately and secretly once they get here. Those people are exploited. It is the exploiters who have the most to fear from the Bill.

I very much welcome the work the Home Office has done to try to secure our borders. Much of the Bill deals with the consequences of people entering the country without papers and without the legal right to remain, and what we can do about that. Our first obligation is to protect the border itself. The investment the Government have made, along with the French authorities, in securing our border at Calais and Coquelles is hugely significant and hugely welcome. It has greatly reduced the numbers of migrants seeking to enter the country illegally by storming the entrances to the channel tunnel and the port of Dover. As I said before, that not only disrupts services but endangers their lives and the lives of others who use those services. It must be stopped.

I welcome the Home Secretary’s influence in persuading the French Government to provide more of their own resources in policing that frontier. I also welcome the moves passed recently by the French Senate—they are still going through the French National Assembly—to improve French law enforcement capabilities to deal with people seeking to enter this country illegally by storming the frontier at Calais and Coquelles. It is right that there are proper criminal sanctions against people who seek to use criminal damage and criminal trespass as a means to enter this country. I know, from people who work at Eurotunnel who saw the consequences of the actions during the summer, that those actions were not only highly dangerous but threatened to disrupt and even derail services through the tunnel. That would have endangered the lives of other passengers, as well as the lives of the people committing those actions. It is right to protect the migrants and to protect our frontier, and it is right that these important new sanctions are being considered.