Europe

UK set for new migrant measures after Border Force experiments using nets to disable rafts

Border Force intercepts dinghy of migrants off Dover coast

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Multiple ways to stop the boats in their tracks have been trialled by Border Force and the Navy. One method would see officials cast nets into the sea to disable propellers on dinghies carrying suspected illegal migrants. But there are disagreements between the Home Office and France about the potential risks involved and both sides have yet to agree on an appropriate approach.

A Government source told The Telegraph: “All options are on the table.

“The Government is determined to do whatever it takes to stop these crossings which are dangerous, illegal and unnecessary because France is a safe country.”

The new measures, which will be enshrined in the home secretary’s bill, come as Britain has in recent days seen a huge influx of boats from across the Channel.

On Tuesday six boats carrying a total of 183 people landed on UK shores – the highest daily figure since the start of the year.

The mild weather is believed to have spurred on smugglers who are keen to get as many people across the water from France on flimsy dinghies.

Tuesday’s figure was almost as high as the total recorded for the whole of March when 187 people arrived on boats.

Ms Patel’s “New Plan for Immigration” seeks to stop illegal arrivals from gaining immediate entry into the UK’s asylum system if they have travelled through a safe country such as France or the Netherlands.

In a speech in the House of Commons this week, she insisted her plan would safe lives by targeting those behind the illicit networks.

She said: “People are dying at sea, in lorries and in shipping containers having put their lives in the hands of criminal gangs that facilitate illegal journeys to the UK.”

But Nigel Farage, who has long campaigned for tougher laws against illegal entry into the UK, slapped down her comments.

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He dismissed her comments as “yet more tough talk” and predicted that “nothing is going to change”.

The former MEP and Brexit Party leader questioned how Ms Patel’s plan would play out, tweeting: “Where will she deport illegal migrants to?

“Why did she not mention we are still in the ECHR?”

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Under Boris Johnson’s post-Brexit trade deal, the UK remains locked into continued membership of hte European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Under the international treaty people cannot be sent back to a country where there is a risk of them being killed or tortured.

Under Ms Patel’s sweeping immigration reforms, countries who refuse to take back failed asylum seekers and criminals could be hit hard by a visa ban.

The proposal would see Britain mirror the United States on laws which see visas withdrawn from nations who refuse to comply with requests to readmit illegal immigrants.

The move is aimed at reversing the UK’s failure to deport illegal entrants and criminals.

Countries understood to be unwilling to cooperate with Britain are Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Eritrea and the Philippines.

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