​‘Willing to die’: 30,000 migrants risk lives attempting to enter UK

Migrants wait to jump on lorries at a nearby gas station on the highway in Calais (Reuters/Philippe Wojazer)

Migrants wait to jump on lorries at a nearby gas station on the highway in Calais (Reuters/Philippe Wojazer)

The number of migrants attempting to enter Britain illegally will double this year, the director of the UK Border Force has said.

Over 30,000 migrants
have attempted to enter the UK illegally in the past 10 months, a
figure which is nearly double the 18,000 recorded in the year

Sir Charles Montgomery, director of the Border Force, told MPs in
the House of Commons that the agency recorded 30,180
detections” in the 10 months to the end of January

He said he could not say for certain whether the rise was due to
an increase in the number of migrants attempting to enter the UK
or to more effective policing.

Montgomery’s comments come a month after the mayor of Calais said
migrants were “willing to die” to come to Britain.
Estimates suggest at least 15 people were killed attempting to
cross the UK border last year.

Giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee, Montgomery
said there were around 3,000 migrants based in Calais who
intended to enter the UK.

He said British immigration officials had detained more than
6,000 illegal migrants who successfully entered the country from
April to the end of December 2014. This number is equal to more
than 20 a day.

Montgomery said this statistic was “flaky,” because some
migrants falsely claim to have entered the country when they may
have actually overstayed their visa.

The best that I can offer is that this year there has been
about 6,000 detections in-country
,” he told MPs.

He added that border officials were not able to stop every single
person attempting to enter the country.

I cannot look this committee in the eye and say I can
operate 100 percent control so 100 percent of clandestines will
not get across the border
,” he said.

The mayor of Calais, Natacha Bouchart, last month warned more
than 2,500 migrants were “willing to die” to come to the

She said many saw the country as an “El Dorado” filled
with jobs and opportunities.

The death toll for migrants killed attempting to enter the UK
from Calais reached 15 last year, according to local charities
based in the area.

READ MORE: ‘Deport first, appeal later’: Policy shift as
migrants detained for years

Calais Migrant Solidarity (CMS), an online group which documents
police harassment of migrants, say the figure could be higher as
many deaths are covered up or simply go unreported.

On December 12, a Sudanese man was crushed under the wheels of a
truck driving along the M25 after successfully crossing the
border, according to CMS.

A 16-year-old girl from Ethiopia was killed on October 20 when
she was knocked over on a busy Calais road as she tried to board
a truck heading to the UK.

READ MORE: 15 Calais migrants killed trying to enter UK

In another headline-grabbing statement, Montgomery told MPs that
waiting times at the Calais border are likely to increase from
April as a new system of checks is introduced.

Montgomery said the new passport checks will be postponed until
April 8 to avoid the Easter holiday weekend.

The new checks will mean border officials record passport
information for nearly every traveler before passing the details
on to the Home Office, which will use the data to find
immigration offenders.

Holidaymakers have been told they may face long lines at the
Eurotunnel and ferry ports. While the checks apply to most
travelers, coach parties with children under the age of 16 are

Leave a comment