Brexit has made migrant crossings easier, say refugees

Brexit has made migrant crossings easier

Refugees currently in Northern France have said that Brexit has made migrant crossings easier due to EU legislation. 

As a record number of migrants tried to cross the channel on Thursday 11 November, it has been revealed that a piece of law known as the Dublin regulation means that anyone who completes the journey to the UK can now not be sent back to an EU country. Despite the weather turning for the worse and the efforts of the UK government in trying to deter them, 1,185 people made the crossing on Thursday. 

Hailing from multiple conflict zones, including Sudan, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq, refugees originally told The Guardian that Brexit had actually made the UK more a more appealing place to try to reach. Even though the risks involved are high, the fact they can no longer be sent back to an EU country makes the journey seem more viable. 


Brexit was claimed to be the missing piece that would allow the UK to take back “full control of our money, our borders and our laws” by Boris Johnson. However, the number of people crossing the Channel in small boats has risen sharply since Brexit was finalised and the UK left the EU. This blisters the claim that Brexit has made migrant crossings easier.

Before the UK left the EU, the regulation known as Dublin meant that other EU countries could be asked to take back anyone the UK could prove passed through safe European countries along the way. “Take charge” requests could be made and British officials had access to the Eurodac fingerprint database which helped prove where the refugees had been before. Since Brexit, the UK no longer has this access and therefore it is much harder to confirm the journeys. 

Plus, the UK has no bilateral agreements with other EU countries that can replicate the Dublin protocol. Many asylum seekers are stuck in the system due to this tangle, but cannot be sent to other countries. A Home Office spokesperson said: “The British public have had enough of seeing people die in the Channel while ruthless criminal gangs profit from their misery and our new plan for immigration will fix the broken system which encourages migrants to make this lethal journey. People should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach – rather than making dangerous journeys to the UK. That is why we will have rules in place to make asylum claims inadmissible where people have travelled through or have a connection to safe countries.

“There is a global and European migration crisis and countries have a moral responsibility to tackle the issue of illegal migration. We expect our international partners to engage with us to stop people making perilous crossings.”

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