France and the United Kingdom | Strengthening cooperation against illegal immigration

(Paris) France and the United Kingdom on Tuesday agreed on a number of measures for strengthening policing on French shores, deploying surveillance technologies, and promising financial investment from the British: a better fight against illegal immigration.

The British Home Office said the move was announced as at least 430 immigrants crossed the Channel on Monday to reach the United Kingdom. In addition, this week British MPs are considering a bill to tighten their asylum system.

Photo by Klein Kirk, AFP

This photo, taken on September 1, 2020, shows migrants crossing the Channel into the UK on an inflatable boat.

British and French Interior Ministers Preity Patel and Gerald Durman met on Tuesday evening via video conference. According to a joint statement, they “agreed to strengthen and co-operate in their joint efforts to combat illegal immigration on their common border, focusing on the event of crossing the sea using makeshift boats.”

“They decided to strengthen the presence of police on the French coast by doubling the number of police and genders stationed on the spot.” They plan to “deploy technologies and surveillance vehicles to further improve the coverage of the French coast, thus preventing crossing attempts, especially through the development of aerial surveillance.”

The announcement also referred to the “investment in equipment to strengthen border security at the level of major transportation infrastructure along the Channel Beaches” and the fight against illegal immigration by road.

The joint statement states that the United Kingdom will support a 62.7 million investment in France in 2021-22, and will work out ways to combat illegal immigration.

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The text refers to “long-term”, a “smart border” on the coast, with surveillance technology to “better detect attempts to cross”.

The UK and France support the idea of ​​a restructuring agreement between the UK and the EU, which will have mutual benefits in preventing illegal immigration, protecting vulnerable people and fighting criminal organizations.

“Faced with unprecedented migration on the southern frontiers”, France “underscores its firm commitment to controlling all of its borders”.

British MPs are debating the asylum reform bill this week. He plans to increase the prison sentence for immigrants who want to enter the country illegally and enjoy life imprisonment from six months to four years – from the current 14 years in prison – to a maximum of kidnappers.

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