UK: Only 6% of Illegal Migrants Caught Crossing English Channel Are Deported
Report reveals alarming number of illegal immigrants remain in the country
Only 6 percent of illegal migrants caught crossing the English Channel to enter the UK are being deported, according to data revealed in an alarming new report.
British Home Office figures show only 85 migrants, who crossed the Channel on small boats to enter the United Kingdom illegally, have been deported from the country since December.
According to data gathered by Sky News, the number of deportations amounts to just 6 percent of the total number of illegal immigrants who crossed the Channel to Britain.
The figures also show a spike in migrants caught making the illegal crossing in August and September, in spite of warnings by Prime Minister Boris Johnson that they would be sent back.
The UK has experienced a surge in the number of migrants crossing the Channel in small boats since the end of last year.
In late 2018, then-Home Secretary Sajid Javid described the rise in illegal crossings as a "major incident."
A new report by Sky News has revealed that very few migrants who successfully made the journey have been returned.
The Home Office has refused to say how many migrants have crossed the Channel from France into the UK on small boats between December 2018 and October this year.
Sky News has collated data from multiple sources, including police records and local reports of arrivals, and calculated the number to be 1,456.
The Home Office says it has returned "over 85" this year, which means that only around 6% - or one in 17 - have been sent back.
Masoud Mohammadifar, who is living in asylum accommodation in the West Midlands, says he arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel in a canoe which he bought in Calais.
The 39-year-old Iranian, who used to run Iran's national boating team, told Sky News he fled his home country after he was accused of being a western spy.
He says he was jailed for six months over the allegation which he faced after simply swapping t-shirts with an American competitor at an international sporting event.
Describing his journey across the Channel with another man, Mr. Mohammadifar said: "It was dark and we had nothing to help us find our way in the sea.
"It was really dangerous because of the big ships. A storm was coming.
"It's difficult to stay stable with a cheap kayak in three-meter waves."
Mohammadifar says French police posed little obstacle to him that night as he began his crossing.
"They had a torch and they followed us," he said.
"I saw the police but they 100% never tried to stop us."
Reza Auoman, a 29-year-old jeweler from Iran, is one of the small number to have been deported from the UK after crossing the Channel illegally but has since returned to claim asylum again.
He said: "I entered the UK twice. Both times smugglers put me in a van and took me somewhere.
"I did not see anything. There were no police around. They pushed us into the boat and said 'go'."
In August, PM Boris Johnson warned that the UK will send back migrants who sail across the Channel illegally.
"The UK should not be regarded as a place where you could automatically come and break the law by seeking to arrive illegally," Mr. Johnson said.
The Home Office says refugees should seek asylum in the first safe country they reach.
"Crossing the Channel in a small boat is a huge risk," a Home Office spokesperson said.
"The criminal gangs who perpetuate this are ruthless and to not care about loss of life.
"We are working closely at all levels with the French authorities to tackle this dangerous illegal activity.
"Where possible we work with European countries to return eligible asylum seekers.
"However, we have an obligation to give all claims fair consideration and not all cases are straightforward."