Home Office in the media

https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/02/home-office-in-the-media-thursday-2-january/

Home Office in the media: Thursday 2 January

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Today's top stories include coverage of smalls boats crossing the Channel and modern slavery.

Small boats

There is widespread coverage of the reported increase in the number of migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats.

The Telegraph reports that the Home Secretary is set to examine ways of deporting illegal migrants quicker and in greater numbers. The piece reports that the Home Secretary wants to remove the incentive for economic migrants to attempt any crossing by making it clear any arriving illegally without a genuine claim for asylum will be returned “promptly".

The Express carried a comment piece from the Security Minister, Brandon Lewis, in which he commits to cracking down on smugglers in order to protect vulnerable people being forced to undertake dangerous journeys.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

Illegal migration is a criminal activity. Those who seek to come to the UK unlawfully and the ruthless criminals who facilitate journeys are all breaking the law and endangering lives.

We will always ensure we have the right resources in place to keep our border secure. A forty-two metre Border Force cutter and two coastal patrol vessels are patrolling the Channel and we are monitoring the situation closely over the Christmas and new year period.

There has also been a doubling of patrols on French beaches and drones, specialist vehicles and detection equipment have been deployed to stop small boats leaving French shores and arriving in the UK illegally.

Individuals who reach the UK illegally should be in no doubt about our determination to return them to Europe as it is an established principle that those in need of protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach.

Modern Slavery

The Independent splashes on reports that the number of modern slavery victims waiting more than two years for a Home Office decision on their case has increased by over 200 in the past three months.

The data comes from an FOI request which shows that 4,991 have been waiting more than 6 months for a decision from the National Referral Mechanism.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

The UK Government is at the forefront of the global fight against modern slavery and is committed to stamping out this abhorrent crime.

Significant progress has been made since the landmark Modern Slavery Act was passed in 2015, giving law enforcement greater powers to help stop criminals from exploiting innocent victims.

We work to ensure that individuals referred into the National Referral Mechanism receive an initial decision within five working days. Adults identified as potential victims of modern slavery can receive accommodation, financial support, assistance in accessing mental and physical health care including counselling, and access to legal support.

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