British authorities may never be able to deport the up to 1 million illegal immigrants living in the country, former head of the United Kingdom Border Agency Rob Whiteman said Wednesday
“The scale of illegal migration and illegal working is not nearly discussed as much as other issues around immigration,” Whiteman, who served as head of the Border Agency from 2011 to 2013, said. “The government does not have the resources or political levers to deport hundreds of thousands of people.”
Some of the migrants entered the country illegally with forged European Union identity cards, Whiteman said, while others simply overstayed the legal visas they were on when they entered the UK, The Times reports.
It’s unclear exactly how many illegals are still working in the country, but Whiteman cited the figure exceeds previous estimates.
The Home Office itself has admitted it has no idea how many illegals are working in the country.
Part of the reason illegals are able to sneak into the country is because only three patrol boats are available to scan 7,000 miles of coastline.
Italy, on the other hand, has a total of 600 boats to look after its 3,000-mile-long coastline.
A report from the Home Affairs Select Committee found the fourth patrol boat in the UK’s fleet is off in the Mediterranean, unable to patrol its own shores.
“UK Border Force has been given a key role in implementing strengthened coastal security measures but it is clearly under-resourced, with the number of Border Force vessels in operation worryingly low,” the report noted. “Royal Navy vessels should be made available to Border Force to make up for shortfalls, where necessary.”
Committee chairman Keith Vaz said the lack of patrol boats represents a serious security threat to the UK.
“Despite maritime security being critical to an island nation, Border Force is operating worryingly low numbers of vessels to protect our borders,” Vaz said. “Royal Navy vessels must be used in our sea war against the traffickers.”
“The appalling attacks in Paris demonstrated that terrorists are exploiting this crisis by using this human tragedy as a cloak to re-enter Europe,” Vaz added. “The EU external border must improve security, including deploying specialist equipment to fingerprint and check everyone against security databases. This is not happening. Terrorists do not see borders as barriers to their barbarism.”
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