GB News: France 'not prepared' to stop migrant crisis says expert
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The escalation in the migrant crisis comes with the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) representing border and immigration officials warning its members are ready to take action over the Home Secretary’s controversial “push back” plans. This policy would see officials aim to redirect migrant boats in the Channel to move them back into French waters. Last year, 28,381 migrants made the journey across the dangerous stretch of water – more than triple the number who made the crossing in 2020.
PCS and the refugee charity Care4Calais are taking the Home Office to court over its policy to stop more people using the dangerous route to Britain.
But on Wednesday, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka warned: “The legality of the pushbacks policy is in serious question and it is right that the court decides whether it is unlawful to turn back Channel boats.
“We cannot have a situation where our members could be open to potential civil and criminal action for implementing a policy that they do not agree with and know is not safe.
“Although we are hoping for a positive outcome from the legal proceedings, people should be in no doubt PCS strongly opposes this policy, on moral and humanitarian grounds, and we will not rule out industrial action to prevent it being carried out.”
But the threat of strike action has triggered a furious reaction from Britons, who are demanding Border Force officials be removed from the process of curbing the migrant crisis altogether.
Commenting on our initial story, Express reader simmo2 raged: “Get rid of the useless bunch, not fit for purpose.
“What hope have we got with these so-called Border Force. Totally pathetic bunch.
Bunterboy fumed: “Sack them and hire people who will turn these boats around. Trade unions will ruin this country.”
Express reader Oldreo said: “Yet another crowd of anti-UK civil servants.
“If they won’t obey instructions effectively from the UK public then replace them.
“Lives are at risk because France doesn’t stop them, not because we turn them back!”
Fellow reader PCXRP also wrote: “Border Farce look more like the average Social Worker, not a disciplined force. Unfit for purpose.
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“Put the Royal Navy in their place and have some real men who can carry out orders.”
Last year, Ms Patel announced the plans in an attempt to curb the record number of people trying to cross the Channel and enter Britain via the Dover Strait in small boats.
The Home Secretary signed off on the strategy in September but it is yet to be used.
The PCS union claims its members are “deeply concerned” the policy cannot be implemented safely, adding officials could be exposed to civil or criminal proceedings if the policy was deemed unlawful.
Care4Calais chief executive Clare Moseley warned: “Care4Calais is deeply concerned about the impact the Home Office’s push backs policy will have on the loss of lives at sea.
“The proposed policy de-prioritises the UK’s duty under domestic and international law to save lives at sea.
“It is for good reason that this duty is a cornerstone of international maritime law.
“If eroded, I fear it will enable the UK to devalue lives at sea.
“It risks opening the gates to the horrific scenes we are seeing in the Mediterranean where the Libyan coastguard watch refugees drown and the Greek coastguard fire weapons to turn them back.”
Home Office permanent secretary Matthew Rycroft has said boats would only be turned back in “certain limited circumstances”.
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