Charting new waters: A progressive policy response to the Channel crossings
The surge in arrivals from people crossing the Channel in small boats has become an increasingly charged issue for government.
The number of detected arrivals rose sharply from 299 in 2018 to 45,744 in 2022, and there have been more than 20,000 detected arrivals so far this year. Immigration has begun to rise up the public agenda, and the issue has become a subject of intense debate in the national media.
In response, there has been a flurry of government activity in an effort to ‘stop the boats’, including the new Illegal Migration Act, which places a duty on the home secretary to removal irregular arrivals and refuse to consider their asylum claims. But so far nothing seems to have worked. While arrivals are slightly down on last year, tens of thousands of people have still made the journey across the Channel.
There is no silver bullet for stopping the Channel crossings overnight. But there are concrete steps which the government can take to mount a progressive and pragmatic response. In contrast to the current agenda – driven by hostile rhetoric and impractical solutions designed to deter new arrivals – our plan focusses on measures which are humane, evidence-based and deliverable.