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    SUE REID: Britain’s first migrant camp shows the Government is determined to end its ‘soft touch’ 

    At last, a line in the sand for gangmasters behind this evil trade: SUE REID says Britain’s first migrant camp sends message that the Government is determined to end accusations of ‘soft touch’

    Day after day, they arrive on Britain’s south coast. 

    This year, almost 6,500 migrants have made the dangerous journey in small boats across the English Channel. 

    On Monday, an overloaded dinghy carrying ten such migrants landed in Kent. The occupants, none of whom was wearing a life jacket, leaped out, ran towards a thicket of trees near the seafront by Kent’s Kingsdown village, and disappeared.

    This disused Army barracks in Folkestone will be used to house newly-arrived immigrants

    A man carries his child as migrants arriving by boat across the Channel walk alongside the White Cliffs of Dover

    A man carries his child as migrants arriving by boat across the Channel walk alongside the White Cliffs of Dover

    It is understood some were caught.  

    What, many might wonder, were the backgrounds of these apparently fit, healthy young men (some covering their faces despite the unseasonal heat) as they rushed into Britain? 

    Whatever the reality, the Government is taking action. In a dramatic development, it has emerged that the first migrant camp built on British soil – housed in a disused Army barracks in Folkestone, Kent – is to open on Monday. Other camps are expected to follow. 

    It is a sensational move by the Government as it tries to deal with these ever arriving boats. 

    The new camp is a statement that the Government is determined to end criticism of Britain being a soft touch for migrants, where all who come here are put up at the State’s expense. 

    As part of a £4billion, ten-year contract with at least 50 hotels, the Home Office is believed to be spending hundreds of millions a month at a huge cost to the taxpayer. 

    On Monday, an overloaded dinghy carrying ten such migrants landed in Kent's Kingsdown village (pictured)

    On Monday, an overloaded dinghy carrying ten such migrants landed in Kent’s Kingsdown village (pictured) 

    Needless to say, Britain can ill-afford this sum as it battles the economic impact of Covid-19. 

    Meanwhile, every picture of smiling migrants making a successful landing in Britain sends a clear signal that this country is struggling to control its borders. 

    Large numbers of former Labour supporters who voted Tory at the last election did so partly because they believed Boris Johnson’s promise to crack down on illegal immigration. 

    Though many migrants who reach Britain are genuinely fleeing persecution or war at home, the truth is that, as their numbers grow, so have suspicions that some have a darker motive. 

    Lucy Moreton, from the Immigration Services Union, warns that criminals deliberately evade Border Force patrols to enter the UK undetected. They could be returning jihadis or would-be terrorists. 

    She said: ‘It is most likely they have a criminal or immigration record in the UK or in the European Union that they do not want us to know. Those who genuinely wish to seek assistance… do wait to be collected by us.’ 

    Britain can ill-afford this sum as it battles the economic impact of Covid-19. Pictured: Plage de la Rotonde in France

    Britain can ill-afford this sum as it battles the economic impact of Covid-19. Pictured: Plage de la Rotonde in France

    There is a further concern. People-smuggling gangs control this lucrative market on the north French coast. Their power, assisted by guns, knives and thuggery, is huge. 

    They have potential customers hoping to reach the UK stretching from Calais just across the Channel all the way to migrant camps on Greek islands at the other end of Europe. 

    Over the years, the gangsters have perfected a sales patter. It goes: don’t claim asylum in mainland EU countries. They hate migrants. The UK is kind. It will give you free housing, education and benefit money for you to send back home to help your family. 

    The gangs’ agents peddle this story in village tea houses far away from Europe, long before a migrant even sets out. It sticks in the minds of desperate people as they journey thousands of miles towards the UK, seeking a new life. 

    So now it’s crunch time. Our immigration system is overwhelmed as genuine asylum seekers wait months, even years, for a decision about whether they are allowed to stay. 

    The Home Office is believed to be spending hundreds of millions a month on housing migrants at a huge cost to the taxpayer

    The Home Office is believed to be spending hundreds of millions a month on housing migrants at a huge cost to the taxpayer

    The first camp will house 400 young men. Another, to house similar numbers, is being discussed near Tenby in Pembrokeshire, Wales. 

    The new camp or camps will send out a propaganda message. They counter the smugglers’ evil story that this country is paved with gold. Out-of-control borders can stoke social unrest. 

    Anti-migrant activists have marched in Dover, the Kent port that has become the epicentre for arrivals. 

    In the Midlands and the North, people complain constantly on social media of waking in the morning to find their local hotel shut to paying guests. Instead, every room has been rented by the Government to house migrants. 

    The new camps could be a gamechanger. Telling a migrant that he must pay thousands for the sea journey to be housed in a former military base will be a tough sell for the gangs. 

    The critics of the camps are on soap boxes. Migrant supporters say they will resemble ‘Army jails’. Kent politicians say putting hundreds of young men in an isolated place is not a sensible idea. 

    Yet the camps may be a line in the sand. If the smuggling chain is broken, numbers of migrants will come down. That means genuine asylum seekers seeking help on our soil will get a quicker hearing instead of being lost in the crowd.

    And those new Tory voters – so essential to the Government – will be pacified.

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