If Britain is failing refugees it has promised asylum, can we blame people for crossing the Channel?

Editorial: The government’s claims about immigration seem questionable when refugees who have taken Britain at its word have been abandoned

Thursday 02 December 2021 21:30
<p>Inflatable craft, used to cross the Channel, are stored at a facility in Dover </p>

Inflatable craft, used to cross the Channel, are stored at a facility in Dover

One of the more questionable claims the government makes about its refugee policy is that there are lawful routes for people to flee persecution and war.

Thus, so the argument goes, there is no need for anyone to turn to people smugglers and make a dangerous crossing of the English Channel in order to exercise the right to claim asylum. Common sense suggests that no one would willingly put their lives or those of their families at risk if there was a simple matter of submitting a form to British officials, complete with the necessary evidence.

It is something of a myth. As our special report makes clear, there are many genuine Syrian refugees presently living in squalid conditions in camps and other temporary accommodation in Lebanon who were told they could have sanctuary in Britain – three years ago. Yet they are still waiting to hear about their safe route, and they are growing desperate.

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