I'm done with the Royal Navy

Migration across the English Channel: If necessary, the Royal Navy should intervene


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Crossing the English Channel by plane only takes a few minutes. The sea between France and Great Britain shimmers in the sun in a deep blue. The ferries and container ships are clearly visible on the sea. But you cannot see the fight that is being fought down there between refugees on rubber dinghies and the coast guard. Only a British military aircraft, an A400M Atlas machine, which is searching the Dover Strait at low altitude, sees it.

The British Home Secretary Priti Patel had requested the machine from the Ministry of Defense in the "fight against terrible and illegal immigration". The signal to the public is just as important to the British government. The vacationers on the English beaches can tell from the military machine that the state is finally doing something.

Because this summer the business with illegal smugglers is booming. The inflatables leave the north-west coast of France in the early hours of the morning and often bring entire families from Iran, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan to the beaches in Kent. This August, 650 people made the dangerous crossing. So far this year there have been more than 4,000 men, women and children, twice as many as last year.

"Stupid, Dangerous and Criminal"

The French try to hold back the refugees, and repeatedly confiscate rubber dinghies in the dunes. However, when the French coast guard wants to force boats to turn back and the refugees threaten to jump into the water out of desperation, lives are saved. The boats are escorted to the transition to British waters (there is no international waters in the narrow Dover Strait) and the British greeted them there. Some boats currently manage the approximately 35 kilometers in the calm sea on their own.

In Great Britain, the refugee issue is being dramatized by the government and made a national challenge. In this way, the government can demonstrate that it is even ready to use the military to protect the nation from illegal immigration. The control of one's own borders was one of the most important promises of Brexit. Interior Minister Patel, herself the daughter of immigrants, has promised to do everything possible to prevent the route across the canal from being used. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced in his usual drastic tone that the crossing of the canal was "stupid, dangerous and criminal".

If the Coast Guard and Border Guard cannot control the situation, the Royal Navy should be deployed. Dan O'Mahoney, a former Royal Marine, was named head of the operation with the pithy title Clandestine Channel Threat Commander appointed. The Tory MP and chairman of the parliamentary defense committee, Tobias Ellwood, even calls for the dinghies to be intercepted by the navy and brought back to the French ports. A BBC reporter commented with a sigh: "But that's not legally possible." Some Tory hardliners are even calling for a kind of pushback, like the one Australia is doing with illegal immigrants. It is not uncommon for them to be locked away in camps on islands far from the coast.