Migrants who use canoes to cross the Channel to seek asylum will no longer be prosecuted

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This is after a new opinion from the Crown Prosecution Service

Migrants who pilot canoes and small boats across the Channel with the intention of seeking asylum will no longer be prosecuted, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

This despite the fact that the Interior Ministry calls the pilots of small boats “human smugglers” and Priti Patel’s promises to make the route across the Channel “unsustainable”.

The Home Office has lobbied to criminalize Channel crossings, and since last year the offense of aiding illegal migration has been used to prosecute boat pilots, despite members of the organized crime groups are rarely aboard the canoes.

Since June 2020, 19 migrants who run boats have been jailed, for sentences ranging from 16 months to four and a half years.

The Independent reports that the new legal guidance released by the CPS on Tuesday reads: “In cases involving the use of a vessel where the sole intention is to be intercepted by border force at sea and brought to port to make requests for asylum, no violation of immigration rules the law will take place […] the same applies when the intention is to take the vessel to a designated port of entry in order to seek asylum. “

Therefore, under these circumstances, asylum seekers did not enter the country under the immigration law.

In order for a migrant to be prosecuted for driving a boat across the Channel, there will have to be evidence that he was secretly trying to reach shore and escape, rather than seek asylum.

The guidelines say prosecutors treat boats the same as other forms of entry into the country like trucks and cars.

Frank Ferguson, CPS Head of Immigration-Related Crime, said: “We are confident that the approach we agreed to today strikes a proportionate balance between deterring criminal gangs from attempting dangerous crossings and taking action. in the interests of justice and compassion. “

This year, a record number of people made the dangerous Channel crossing in small boats and canoes. Almost 6,000 people reached the UK in the first half of 2021.


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