Arrests of illegal immigrants at the UK port of Dover rose by nearly 300% between 2013 and 2014, according to information released under the Freedom of Information Act. 563 immigration arrests were made at Dover – a site where many immigrants try to enter the UK illegally – in 2014, compared with 148 arrests in 2013 and 105 in 2012.
UK Immigration via Channel Tunnel
The figures, released on July 6th, come days after over 100 migrants attempted to force their way into the Channel Tunnel terminal in France, and just one day before the tragic death of a migrant on Tuesday July 7th while attempting to board a moving freight train in Calais, as previously reported by workpermit.com.
Conditions at Calais 'desperate' for immigrants
Approximately 3000 migrants, many of them fleeing war and human rights abuses in places like Afghanistan and Syria, are located at the notorious 'Jungle II' camp near the French port of Calais, in conditions which French aid workers have described as 'desperate'. Martine Devries, from French charity Medicins Du Monde, said: "It is much worse than it was before. There are more people and they are becoming more desperate and are taking more risks. Last year people would only make attempts to get on to lorries at night, now there are so many and they are so desperate people are trying in broad daylight."
British response to crisis criticised
Politicians from both sides of the channel have spoken out about the crisis. Sylvia Pinel, France's housing minister, said: "There are nearly 3,000 people living in an unacceptable and unhealthy way on this wasteland... We have to take steps to improve their conditions."
British Prime Minister David Cameron has called the situation in Calais "totally unacceptable", but has been criticised by French officials for being "blind and hypocritical" about the crisis.
Implying that simply making arrests at Dover is not enough, Calais' deputy mayor Philippe Mignonet publicly condemned Cameron for failing to meet with him in Calais to discuss the situation: "Not considering our request [for a meeting] is worse than ever because, Mr Cameron, you are making anglophobia grow in Calais and you will have more and more critics about your policy. [You] give now the impression of being blind and hypocritical."
According to the Telegraph, it has been predicted that 2000 more people could arrive at the camp within a few months.