Migrants crossing the Channel from France will be detained in Albania
MIGRANTS who cross the Channel in small boats from France will be detained in Albania as part of a new crackdown on asylum.
Illegal entrants will be flown 1,500 miles to an offshore hub in the Balkans while their applications are processed.
Home Secretary Priti Patel hopes the prospect will deter those considering making the perilous crossing.
She said last night that governments “should be able to consider every option” when dealing with asylum seekers.
Officials in London and the Albanian capital Tirana are said to be on the verge of reaching a deal on the processing center.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s chief of staff, Dan Rosenfield, is one of the main driving forces behind the policy, and Foreign Office diplomats are helping him.
An insider said: “The Home Secretary has made it clear that she wants this to happen. Negotiations are at a technical stage. We are now down to the small details such as the exact location and numbers.
The establishment of a processing center abroad is part of the new draft law on nationality and borders.
The proposal comes amid growing pressure to act after a record-breaking 17,000 crossings to the UK from France so far this year.
The ministers also want to crush the smuggling gangs who charge thousands of pounds for crossings.
The UK and Denmark also had discussions about sharing a Rwanda treatment center in Africa.
It was revealed a year ago that the government was planning to create one in the Ascension Islands, 4,000 miles away in the South Atlantic.
The UK currently has no bilateral agreement with EU states to return asylum seekers.
The issue of migrant crossings is considered extremely damaging to the government.
The 30 or so Conservative MPs from the so-called border forces group are calling for action. France has been promised Â£ 54million to help stop the flow of level crossings.
Images were recently released of a training exercise showing armored jetskis ready to “turn around” ships bound for England.
A 16-year-old Sudanese boy was crushed to death while trying to hide in a truck bound for the UK in Marck, near Calais in France.
Q AND A
How it works:
WHY does the government want to act?
The Channel crossings this year have reached new heights, with ministers working on solutions to deter small boats and smugglers.
What is an offshore immigration center?
British asylum claims would be processed while the migrants remained in Albania.
Why can’t the UK return asylum seekers?
The UK does not have bilateral agreements with EU countries.
Who is against the plan?
The offshore centers have been described as “an act of cruel and brutal hostility” by the Refugee Council charity.