I would like to support many of the points made by George Lee (CP, 31-12-21) in his response to Ian McKie’s claims (CP, 24-12-21) about illegal immigration.

It is astonishing that with the financial and other support that Britain has provided, the French have been unable to arrest the people smugglers, who have been making huge profits from this trade in people’s lives.

We have all seen the pictures of the French police on the beaches watching the overcrowded rubber boats being launched.

The rules are clear, people seeking asylum should apply in the first safe country, but the immigrants crossing the Channel have been through several “safe” countries, so the EU is complicit.

A number of articles have referred to the fact that Britain is “a magnet” because our benefit system is more generous and more accessible...the total costs are hard to find, but the “asylum system” cost £1.4 billion last year, and hotel accommodation alone cost £70 million with some block-booked through this year.

One of the key problems has been that the UK Border Force has been overwhelmed, and seriously underfunded for years, impacting the number of trained staff and the essential equipment, including ships — Britain has only five border patrol vessels — three usually on patrol in the Channel, while Italy has 600, and Greece 240.

We have all seen the distressing pictures of immigrants that have been picked up in the Channel by Border Force or RNLI boats, but how many of the arrivals this year have had age, medical or criminal record checks?

Many of your readers will have followed the rising number of immigrants who have crossed the Channel this year.

I understand that the final figure for 2021 is around 25,700, three times the number in 2020.

These are the ones counted, mainly through Dover, but we have a friend who during the summer was on holiday in Kent and saw small boats arriving with no checks, the immigrants just ran up the beach and disappeared.

I have tried various sources to find the total number of illegal immigrants now in the UK, this is one of the more reliable conclusions from a detailed report:

“Verdict — The exact number of illegal immigrants in the UK is not known, however, the two most recent studies estimate the number to between 594,000 — 745,000 and 800,000 — 1.2 million respectively.” This is from the Reuters Fact Check Team.

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