Those were the harrowing words I read in today's Evening Standard in an article about the French police clearing the "Jungle" camp near Calais. Those words hammered home just how desperate migrants are to get into the UK. This immediately got me thinking why don't they want to stay in France instead of the UK? Or any of the other countries on their way to the UK?
Having watched UK Borderforce a show on Sky 1 that follows immigration offices catching illegal immigrants or stopping them before they come into the UK at Calais. The reasons they give for coming to the UK are quite interesting, some of them are
- Coming to the UK for free education
- Some believe they will get free housing
- Free health care
- To marry someone in the UK and raise a family
- To join family (sometimes distant) already in the UK
But why don't they do these thing in France? Well some of the reasons range from France not being as soft a touch as the UK, the immigrants speak English and therefore naturally want to settle in the UK. Another interesting fact is that the French do have a problem with immigration but these are from ex French colonies where people generally speak French as a second language, they know how the systems work in France and take advantage of it as people who know the system in the UK.
Deporting illegal immigrants is difficult many of them know that as long as they don't carry a passport its practically impossible for them to be deported, however they are not allowed to work. Its a catch situation which the government sought to solve with biometric id cards. The idea is to receive the benefits of "Club Britain" you need a membership card that entitles you to all the club has to offer. Because of wide spread outrage at the id card scheme the government decided to reverse the trend giving immigrants biometric id cards. Even if they did lose the cards their biometric information makes them identifiable to the system once again, hence making them deportable once they had over stayed their welcome.
It seems a vast majority of illegal immigrant based on the above appear to be economic migrants, they are after the ideal life, a better standard of living and a shield against poverty. Reducing this trend can only be done by not making services in the UK as accessible but most importantly helping to improve conditions in countries most illegal immigrants come from. You now start entering a fight against world poverty and we know just how successful that has been in the developing world. What if the old colonial powers started colonising parts of Africa again taking over war torn countries without governments and started making safe haven countries for immigrants, with economic havens, well conditioned and more free from corruption, building these countries up again and then calling elections for them to be handed to a locally formed government. Could it work?