Undocumented Migrants: English Channel

Home Office written question – answered on 15th September 2021.

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Photo of Julian Lewis Julian Lewis Chair, Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what comparative assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of (a) turning back illegal immigrants at sea in the English Channel and (b) picking up illegal migrants and returning them France; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Managing the illegal crossings by migrants using small boats and disrupting the criminal enterprises that facilitate this deadly trade is a top priority for my officials. They have explored the different options open to the UK and their effectiveness in the context of both domestic and international law. Turning back migrant vessels at sea is one of a range of potential possibilities, and the new Borders Bill includes additional powers enabling Border Force to act in international waters and potentially return boats to their country of embarkation, where there are agreements in place to do so.

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