Long lines of people – believed to be migrants – could be seen waiting to be processed at the Border Force compound in Dover, Kent, as 990 arrived on British shores. Nearly 40,000 have arrived in the UK so far this year after attempting the treacherous trip from France. The provisional figures relate solely to those crossing the world’s busiest shipping route in dinghies and other small boats.
It comes after an immigration watchdog said he was left “speechless” by conditions at the Manston migrant processing centre in Kent.
Manston was originally meant to hold between 1,000 and 1,600 people – but there are around 2,800 at the site.
Now charities are calling on Home Secretary Suella Braverman to create safe routes for refugees and deal with the massive backlog in migrant claims.
More than 110 refugee charities have signed an open letter to the minister, calling for a “kind and effective system” for those seeking asylum.
It referred to comments made by Ms Braverman at a fringe event during the Conservative Party conference earlier this month, that her “dream” and “obsession” is seeing a plane taking off to Rwanda with migrants.
“She has also said that the only way for refugees to get into the UK is through a “safe and legal route”.
The letter read: “Home Secretary, when you talk of ‘safe and legal routes’, you must be aware that it is impossible to ask refugees to come exclusively through such a path when even Afghan interpreters who are eligible for one of our few existing schemes remain in hiding from the Taliban.
“When you talk of ‘illegal migrants’, you must be aware that the top nationalities of people making dangerous journeys include Afghanistan, Eritrea and Syria, and that at least 97 percent of asylum claims made by people from these countries are successful.
“When you question the existence of ‘modern slavery’, you must be aware that you are dismantling your own party’s proud and internationally-recognised achievement in protecting the survivors of trafficking.
“And when you complain about the cost of housing asylum seekers, you must be aware that, while people seeking safety did not choose to leave their homelands, they are willing to work and keen to contribute, if only the law permitted them.
“You have referred to this country’s proud history of offering sanctuary, so we ask you to make this happen with a fair, kind and effective system for refugees.
“Deal with the backlog in asylum cases, create safe routes, respect international law, and the UN convention on refugees, and give refugees a fair hearing, however they get here. Then you would have really done something worth dreaming about.”
The letter, co-ordinated by charity IMIX and coalition campaign Together With Refugees, was signed by groups such as Christian Aid, Doctors of the World, English National Opera, Refugee Action, Refugee Council and Save the Children.
Earlier this month, Ms Braverman said migrants crossing the Channel will face a ban from claiming asylum in Britain.
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