A number of people have written to me recently with concerns about the situation at Calais. We have all seen images of migrants attempting to evade police and make it through the Channel Tunnel into Britain, and heard about the disruption this has caused at the border.
I do not blame these people for wanting a better life, and we should always remember that they have left their homes and endured terrible hardship to escape the horrors of war and poverty.
But as a country we need to be able to manage our borders, and as much as we may want to assist people fleeing war and persecution we know that realistically we can’t help everyone.
It is right that we have a system for granting asylum, but to make that system work properly we have to be able to effectively control who enters our country.
The Government would have people believe that they have been tough on immigration, but what many people don’t realise is that the Coalition actually made it harder to manage our borders by cutting Border Force staff and budgets, and the number of illegal immigrants being deported is down.
And David Cameron’s response to the latest scenes at Calais has not been action, but words. His statements last week, and his unwise description of migrants as a ‘swarm’ might make the Government sound tough, but will do nothing to address the problem and make our borders more secure.
Instead of talking tough, the Prime Minister should be putting pressure on the French authorities to properly document people at Calais.
And the Government should be compensating the British holidaymakers and hauliers who have been hit by the chaos there. Words aren’t enough – people in Britain want action to manage our borders now.