People smuggling: 'This isn't going to go away. We can't just turn a blind eye'

People smuggling: 'This isn't going to go away. We can't just turn a blind eye' says Peter Hill of Citizens UK

Eighteen suspected illegal immigrants were rescued from a boat in the English Channel over the weekend

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Britain and France must cooperate more closely to prevent increased people smuggling into the UK, insists a leading member of the social justice campaign group Citizens UK. 

The Bishop of Barking, the Right Reverend Peter Hill, was speaking out following the rescue by coastguards over the weekend of 18 Albanian migrants from an inflatable boat in the English Channel.

In scenes more commonly associated with the Mediterranean, a coastguard helicopter and two lifeboats had to rescue the group when their craft began taking on water.

The occupants were taken to Dover, where they were handed over for questioning by UK Border Force officials. 

Two British citizens were later charged with immigration offences as a result.  

The group were believed to be attempting to cross to the UK from mainland Europe, and the Right Reverend Hill told Paul Ross: "France and Britain need to get together more strongly on this, the whole of Europe does. 

"This isn't going to go away. It is not something we can turn a blind eye to.

"Citizens UK and other such organisations are not blind [to the concerns raised by mass immigration].

"We understand the need to have secure borders, but [we must also have] humane borders for people who are in serious need. 

"Nobody is suggesting that we just open our borders and let anybody in, but we need to provide legal and safe routes that prevent people smuggling, are humane and are realistic about safe, secure borders and people's needs.

"It's complex, it's demanding, but we need somehow to respond more strongly."