I understand the concern that illegal immigration must be tackled.
A wide range of measures were introduced in the Immigration Acts 2014 and 2016 to remove the ability of illegal immigrants to remain in the UK in defiance of our immigration laws. Those who have no right to remain in the UK are expected to leave voluntarily and should take all reasonable steps to do so. If they do not leave voluntarily, the authorities will seek to enforce their removal.
More generally, the Government is in the process of building our future immigration system to benefit the needs and interests of all parts of the UK. The UK’s new points-based immigration system must serve the national interest and lead to a reduction in migration.
I do, however, remain committed to an immigration policy which welcomes people to the UK through safe and legal routes. All illegal immigrants should be deterred and prevented.
Accordingly, the Home Secretary has appointed a new Small Boats Commander to lead our response to tackling illegal attempts to reach the UK, helping to make the Channel route unviable.
In practical terms, this means we will be working to make this route unviable and arresting the criminals facilitating these crossings and making sure they are brought to justice.
The new Clandestine Channel Threat Commander will have the primary responsibility of making the Channel route unviable for small boat crossings, which will include implementing our two-fold plan – stopping migrants from leaving France in the first place and then, if they do, intercepting and returning them.