THE SQUALID “Jungle” migrant camp outside Calais has been a stain on Europe’s conscience for far too long and it can only be hoped that its clearance by French authorities, scheduled to start today, is a prelude to a just and orderly dispersal of its refugee population.
Given the appalling record of Europe’s immigration authorities in dealing with the migrant crisis, however, no one is advised to hold their breath waiting for that.
The supposed child migrants now arriving in Britain present a case in point. No decent person could argue that children stranded in such a perilous environment should not be rescued and given a place of safety, or that Britain should not play its part in this.
Yet the sight of adult migrants entering Britain by claiming to be much younger than they are is not only an insult to the goodwill of the British people and a callous trampling on the rights of child refugees. It is also a severe indictment of this country’s border controls.
Indeed, the latest news that the Home Office was warned by local councils two months ago of the importance of carrying out age checks – and that other, even earlier warnings were similarly ignored – suggests that the Government has been bereft of any strategy for handling this crisis for a very long time.
If migrants are to be deterred from risking their lives to travel to Europe, and if UK public support for immigration is to be maintained, the Home Office has to demonstrate strict and fair controls. Yet instead there is confusion, chaos and a growing tide of human misery.