The Channel migrant crisis is a threat to national security and public safety, Suella Braverman warned last night.
The Home Secretary said police chiefs have warned her that criminals who have arrived on small boats have been linked to drug dealing, exploitation and prostitution.
And she warned hostile states, such as Russia, are weaponising illegal migration to overwhelm European countries.
In an alarming message, Mrs Braverman said the Italian government believes the Wagner Group – private mercenaries linked to many atrocities in Ukraine – is fuelling a mass movement of people in Africa as part of “a clear strategy of hybrid warfare”.
The Home Secretary, leading calls for reforming the 1951 Refugee Convention, warned the migration crisis will only get worse unless radical steps are taken to restore national borders.
READ MORE Kent County Council is looking to house unaccompanied asylum seeking children
Speaking in Washington DC, she said: “We have created a system of almost infinite supply, incentivising millions of people to try their luck, knowing full well that we have no capacity to meet more than a fraction of demand.
“So why has the international community, so far, collectively failed to explore any serious reform of the global asylum framework?
“The first is simply that it is very hard to renegotiate these instruments…the second is much more cynical – the fear of being branded a racist or illiberal. Any attempt to reform the refugee convention will see you smeared as anti-refugee.
“I reject that notion that a country cannot be expected to respect human rights if it is not signed up to an international human rights organisation.”
Rising levels of immigration are behind at least 45% of demand for new housing in England, she said. And due to immigration and high birth rates among foreign-born mothers, English secondary schools will need to find an extra 213,000 places by 2026 compared to 2020.
Migration to Europe over the past 25 years has been “too quick” with “too little thought given to integration and the impact on social cohesion”. She said failing to clamp down on illegal migration could fuel the rise of the far-right because voters no longer have confidence in Western governments.
She added: “Europe is at a critical juncture. The European Union must find a way to meet the challenge of illegal migration.”
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