What could be done?

Here are some broad-brush ideas which might have a positive, humanitarian impact on the situation.
  • Relieve the "small boats" crisis by creating legal means to apply for asylum from outside the UK.   Furthermore, allow people to come to the UK on a default, short-term restricted visa.
  • Where feasible, encourage asylum applicants to seek work and have gainful employment if possible.   Temporary tax codes would be used to gather income tax/NI.
  • Provide basic accommodation for asylum applicants and dependents.
  • Encourage asylum applicants to rapidly seek citizenship.
  • Provide short-term support for asylum applicants.
  • Asylum applicants have regular contact points.
  • There has to be a serious discussion with France and the rest of the EU concerning asylum and migration.   Financial terms have to be agreed concerning the support of those seeking asylum and their settlement.
The basic idea is to:
  • Acknowledge there will always be migration, and there will always be people fleeing from persecution e.g. refugees.
  • There will always be people needing asylum - trying to "ban" it or make it "impossible" can't work, won't work.
  • Asylum and refugees is not an internal "criminal justice" issue - it is an international political concern, and the UK must collaboratively work with the EU to come to some reasonable humanitarian approach overall.
  • We should therefore manage the situation and try to create the best outcome for society and those affected.
  • The best outcome involves trying to make peace with refugees (i.e. those who have succeeded in gaining asylum) and, without attempting to culturally reform refugees, find good constructive ways in which they can make their home here and contribute to society.
The closing remarks above are wildly idealistic and highly unlikely to happen under the present government  - but it is difficult to see what else could potentially work.
A thought that has been bubbling up while writing all concerns the need for some kind of National Identity service - that is, a recognised identity (not necessarily a "card" as such, but something like the National Insurance number.   A lot of underlying social resentment seems to come from the idea that some people think that there are other people claiming what they aren't entitled to - others claim that they aren't receiving what they should be receiving.   A National Identity service would simply record status and entitlement to services etc.   Right-wingers don't like this idea - Why? - Because it will clearly recognise access to the Welfare State for everyone and consolidate that as a persistent feature of life in the UK.
Contributors: Mark Collins, Paul Hazelden, Brian Monahan

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  • My approach would include removing a numerical target from the Home Office - they should be assessing each person as an individual, with respect. This includes timely responses, proper resourcing and above all working in independence from politcal pressure. A lot of the problem we're seeing now is as a result of the imposition of the 'Hostile Environment' policy instituted by Theresa May.

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