No more criminal proceedings against migrants crossing the channel. This is a decision taken by the British Public Prosecutor’s Office, which is going against the law and the penalties imposed to tighten the Home Secretary’s Bill.
In a statement, the Crown Prosecution Service said in a directive issued Thursday that “passengers in boats and other vehicles should not be prosecuted unless they are a repeat offender or have previously been deported.” have gone.” Crown Courts. Instead they must be removed through an administrative process.
This line was adopted due to the fact that “migrants and asylum seekers often do not have a choice in how they travel and are exploited by organized criminal groups”. The text highlights the prosecution of those who play a “significant role” in the smuggling of migrants, “particularly those who organize and lead dangerous crossings of the Channel by boat”.
Migrants who “have no choice of their own means of transport”
According to CPS Immigration Officer Frank Ferguson, this approach strikes a proportional balance between “deterring criminal groups from attempting dangerous channel crossings” and “justice and compassion”. “We also have a duty to consider the public interest in prosecuting passengers, who often do not have a choice of their own mode of transport, for offenses that could ordinarily be dealt with by deportation measures”, a – They said.
The adoption of such a line came two days after Interior Minister Priti Patel’s presentation in Parliament of a bill that, by contrast, would cost them six months to four years, to toughen the penalties imposed by migrants. wants. In jail. The directive deals with crimes existing in the current state of the law, underlines the interior ministry. “We look forward to discussing future guidelines with the CPS” when the new law, which expands the possibilities of prosecution, “goes into force,” he said.
“Discouraging Illegal Immigration” Bill
The text also provides for life imprisonment – currently up to 14 years imprisonment – against the maximum committed by traffickers. These provisions are part of the reform of the UK asylum system after Brexit.
Presented by Minister Priti Patel as “fair but firm”, it aims to discourage illegal immigration and plans to treat asylum seekers differently depending on whether they are legally or illegally have come to the country. The project has been condemned by unions, as well as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
The year 2021 already shows a sad record: about 6,000 migrants crossed the Channel on makeshift boats during the first six months of the year. A total of 8,417 people were expected to reach the British coast last year.