IN these columns Alp Mehmet has recently brought to our attention the considerable levels of illegal immigration on the South Coast. He has also referred to the very small proportion of migrants arriving in this manner being returned to the Continent.
Mr Mehmet, along with Nigel Farage, is right to point out the gravity of this situation. We might legitimately ask: What are the authorities doing in terms of a tough response to discourage the dinghies from coming? Has anything been done in the light of this present springtime wave of arrivals to dissuade potential migrants from their view that Britain is a soft touch?
One problem is that we are indeed a soft touch as far as the EU is concerned; another is sheer Home Office incompetence and lack of resources for intervention and immediate deportation. The main problem is that the authorities are frightened of appearing too tough and of doing anything that could possibly be construed as ‘racist’ or as ‘lacking in compassion’. On the issue of controlling the nation’s borders, the pressures fabricated by the forces of virtue-signalling liberal secularism have sadly caused an abandonment of plain common sense.
What needs to be emphasised is that the moral high ground lies with those who condemn illegal immigration and the weak response to it, not with those who condone it. I am opposed to the practice of illegal entry into this country, and then using it to claim asylum, precisely because I am a Christian minister, not despite the fact.
Crossing the English Channel to gain entry to the UK without permission is a premeditated criminal act. The Bible teaches that deliberate attempts to break the laws of the land are sinful in the sight of God. We read, for example, in 1 Peter 2:13-14, ‘Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him’ (1 Peter 2:13–14 KJV). Illegal immigration is in direct repudiation of that Biblical principle.
As soon as migrants arrive on the beaches, taxpayers’ resources are being employed to provide clothing, food and accommodation, with the costs of the legal expenses to process the asylum applications. In this way law-breaking is being rewarded.
Furthermore, there is no morally justifiable ground for crossing the Channel from France or Belgium to claim asylum, because France and Belgium are safe countries. If a man is fleeing for his life, he will run to the nearest safe place, but asylum seekers reaching the UK will have already passed through or over various other safe countries, which suggests that there are other motives for choosing this country than mere safety.
Of course one has compassion for those who have experienced genuine restraints upon their rights and liberties in their countries of origin (as opposed to just desiring a better standard of living), but the issue of, for example, oppressive regimes cannot be dealt with by the mass transfer of populations to the UK, let alone by illegal entry.
If it is a moral obligation to accept 20 people in a dinghy who have originated from, say, Iran or Afghanistan, where does the obligation end? Should the UK accept another 20,000, 200,000, 2million? If Britain does not crack down on the present illegal activity, it is a green light for large numbers of others to attempt the journey.
It goes without saying that a Christian loves his neighbour whoever he is and wherever he comes from, but this pleasant obligation does not require the condoning of purposeful illegal activity. Loving one’s neighbour does not mean that people leave their houses unlocked at night so that anyone can come in, use their belongings and eat their food without their permission. Even the most ardent liberal will protect the integrity of his own household, and it should be no different for nations protecting the integrity of their God-ordained borders.