The task of protecting us just got harder: as the Mail reveals suspected terrorists have entered Britain posing as Channel migrants, sources say authorities’ hands are tied
Today’s revelation that suspected terrorists have entered Britain posing as small boat migrants brings a whole new context to the Channel crisis.
It was already known that hundreds of criminals had been identified among the arrivals from France, raising huge questions about Britain’s porous border and the government’s ability to protect its citizens.
Now we know the problem is much, much worse.
The 19 terror suspects who masqueraded as potential refugees to enter the UK are known to have links to some of the world’s most murderous groups, including the Islamic State and the Somali Islamist insurgent group al-Shabaab.
The security services were already under pressure to monitor thousands of individuals who pose an active threat in the UK.
Today’s revelation by the Mail highlights the nonsensical laws and processes that apply to Channel migrants (file image)
The 19 terror suspects who camouflaged themselves as potential refugees to enter the UK are known to have links to some of the world’s most murderous groups (file image)
It has now become apparent that the Channel crisis has added to this.
While the exact threat level of the 19 men remains unknown, some are believed to be dangerous enough to warrant surveillance.
Today’s revelation by the Mail highlights the nonsensical laws and processes that apply to Channel migrants.
If a known terrorist enters this country via legal routes – such as a scheduled flight – he will most likely be stopped and identified at immigration control.
They would then almost certainly be refused entry to Britain under the Home Secretary’s powers to exclude anyone on national security grounds.
But if the same terrorist crosses the Channel in a small boat, they cannot be turned away.
Human rights laws and international refugee conventions require that they be given the opportunity to claim the right to live indefinitely in this country.
In fact, it is now believed that the 19 who came here last year are living in hotels on a full board basis at the taxpayer’s expense, some for months.
With an average nightly cost of £150, this means each suspect is costing the state coffers around £4,500 a month or £55,000 a year in support costs alone.
It is clear that no criminal charges are possible because the evidence against them is based on intelligence material – which cannot be used in courts – and sources say the authorities’ hands are tied.
The predicament will further reinforce the argument that Channel arrivals should be treated in an entirely new way, as the law on illegal migration aims to do.
Suella Braverman’s legislation, currently before parliament, will give the Home Secretary new powers to detain “irregular” arrivals, such as those arriving by small boat.
The ability to raise human rights issues will be limited and the Ministry of the Interior will be able to send rejected applicants to Rwanda or another safe country.
The bill is facing opposition from Labour, other opposition parties and even – in some measures – from within the Conservatives themselves.
Now that we know that terror suspects who despise our way of life have used the Channel as an open door to Britain, those detractors face a very thorough investigation into the potential consequences of exposing this country’s border to abuse.