Home Secretary has 'exaggerated' severity of migrant 'crisis', claims immigration lawyer

Sajid Javid

Sajid Javid speaks to the press in Dover. Image: Getty

Thursday, January 3, 2019

An immigration lawyer has claimed Sajid Javid branding the Channel migrant crossings as a "major incident" is an exaggeration.

Harjap Bhangal said the numbers of migrants crossing the English Channel had "actually gone down" since he began practicing as a lawyer in 2001.

"The fact that he described it as a crisis, that's exaggerated. The numbers that are coming in are not a crisis, these numbers have been coming in for the last 20-odd years," Mr Bhangal told talkRADIO's Cristo Foufas.



"When I started practicing, I got a phonecall on New Year's Eve saying 52 people had arrived at Dover and they needed representing. They were coming in in these sorts of numbers then, and they've actually gone down since."

The lawyer's appearance on the Cristo show followed a statement given by the Home Secretary in Dover yesterday, in which he questioned whether the latest spate of people crossing the Channel in small boats and dinghys were "genuine" asylum seekers.

However, Mr Bhangal claimed it was the "job of the Home Office" to determine the reason why migrants had come to the UK.


'Job of the Home Office'

Sajid Javid during a visit to Dover. Image: PA

"They [Home Office] determine whether the person is coming for economic reasons, whether they need human rights protection or asylum. The system is already in place," he said.

"That's the job of the Home Office and that's what they should be doing when they interview these people and process their claims."

He added: "A lot of people think that it's the asylum seekers who are telling the gangs 'We want to go here'. It's not a menu, it's not a restaurant."