On a nightly basis, hundreds of migrants in the French port town of Calais are risking their lives attempting to cross the undersea tunnel into the UK. While migrants have long gathered in Calais, Eurotunnel, the firm that runs freight and passenger shuttles via the tunnel, said it’s struggling to cope with numbers that have swelled from 600 to around 5,000 people.
The ongoing crisis has intensified an already sensitive topic in British politics: immigration.
Back in May, PM David Cameron was re-elected on a campaign that included a promise to significantly cut annual migration. Under pressure to do something about the Calais migrant crisis, the British leader has begun working to discourage what he described as the “swarm of people” trying to make Britain their new home. Under newly proposed plans, immigrants living in the UK without proper documentation could soon face eviction without a court order. In addition, landlords who fail to check the immigration status of tenants could be fined or imprisoned for up to five years.
The move, announced by Communities Secretary Greg Clark, will be included in a new Immigration Bill that will be debated in parliament in the coming months. It also comes on the heels of an $11 million pledge by the British government to improve fencing around the Eurotunnel rail terminal outside Calais.
So with PM Cameron warning that the crisis could last all summer, are these recent measures the right approach? We discuss at 19:30 GMT.
On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Don Flynn @donflynnmrn
Director of the Migrants’ Rights Network
Steven Woolfe @Steven_Woolfe
Migration spokesman, UKIP
Jonathan Portes @jdportes
Director, National Institute of Economic and Social Research
Larry Macaulay @RefugeeRadioNet
Founder, Refugee Radio Network
Refugee Radio Network