Tag Archives: Calais

BLOG: Our Front Line in Calais

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V__D3E4I am grateful to BBC Radio Kent for taking me to Calais to see at first hand the struggle to secure our border.

I was taken to meet some of the immigrants, mainly it seems from Africa, who are camped out in their thousands around Calais, in extremely basic conditions, trying to make their way to the UK.

Many different factors push or pull illegal immigrants to attempt to cross from Calais to the UK, including for some the respective benefit regimes. However, the number one factor struck me as being the English language. Many of the migrants to one degree or another speak English, while few speak French, and without French they do not believe they will be able to get a job, or perhaps even basic benefits, in France.

V__EB6FPeter from Ethiopia told me about his passage through Sudan and Libya before a perilous crossing by boat to the Italian island of Lampedusa. From there the Italian authorities took him to the city of Bologna and left him near the railway station, where he got a train to Paris and then Calais.

Rather than just focus their ire on the UK because immigrants want to come here, the French should put real pressure on the Italians, since it is the Italians with whom they have chosen to share a common border area within Schengen. How can that be sustainable if the Italians just wave migrants through?

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