The ‘Calais crisis’ is on the agenda once again – but the problems never went away

More attempted crossings to Britain – and warnings to asylum seekers from Boris Johnson – show the vicious cycle is set to continue, says May Bulman

Friday 23 August 2019 23:45
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Eritrean migrants observe a ferry arriving in the French port from the UK this month
Eritrean migrants observe a ferry arriving in the French port from the UK this month

The “Calais crisis” is on the agenda once again. A wave of attempted Channel crossings has placed the issue back into the media spotlight, prompting a warning from Boris Johnson to would-be asylum seekers that “we will send you back”.

His remarks bear similarity to those of Sajid Javid following a rise in crossings at the end of last year, when the then home secretary said Britain needed to tell anyone wishing to cross that they “won’t succeed”. He went on to claim that if they were “real genuine” asylum seekers they would have done that in another safe country – comments that attracted fierce criticism from campaigners.

The hostility in the responses of both Tory ministers, and the fact that the British government continues to react to spikes in attempted crossings in this way, is telling of the vicious cycle – and, arguably, hopelessness – that has come to represent the Calais situation.

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