The deaths of migrant children in the Channel should shock Boris Johnson and Priti Patel into action

Editorial: There is no reason why the pandemic should mean that the UK’s obligations to those with a fear of persecution in their home country should cease

Wednesday 28 October 2020 21:47
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The PM and his home secretary have taken a hard line on migration
The PM and his home secretary have taken a hard line on migration

The shock of the drowning of two children in the English Channel this week ought to prompt the prime minister and the home secretary to rethink. Obviously, they should do so as a matter of basic humanity, but it is also worth trying to make the hard-hearted argument of pragmatism. 

The present policy is plainly not working from the point of view of a government that wishes to maintain strict immigration control. The Independent would argue that the numbers coming across the Channel in small boats are not huge, but a government that wants to “take back control of our borders” ought to be offended by its failure to prevent the crossings, even if it were not also appalled at the collateral human cost. 

Hence any solution needs to focus on preventing the problem at source. That means trying to reduce the desperation that drives so many to take the terrible risk of crossing, and it means better policing of the French coast to stop people setting off in the first place. 

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