The U.S. is not the only country struggling with the crushing responsibility of caring for hundreds of thousands of migrants and asylum-seekers flooding our borders. The British government informed the Home Affairs Select Committee last week that it is spending £6.8 million a day on housing for potential asylum-seekers and Afghan nationals.
According to testimony from Home Office staff and border chiefs, more than 38,000 possible asylum seekers arrived in the UK via the English Channel in 936 small boats this year alone with an additional 28,000 failed crossing attempts foiled by French border enforcement.
While Britain does have processing centers, they are well beyond their max capacity forcing officials to house most of the new arrivals in hotels. The breakdown for taxpayers of the costly housing is £5.6 million a day for immigrants crossing the Channel with an additional £1.2 million per day to house Afghan nationals who fled during the evacuation last year as the Taliban took control of the country. The total cost for housing both groups is a staggering £2.48 billion a year for taxpayers.
The annual cost is also expected to increase as the backlog of asylum seekers waiting to be processed continues to grow. According to Abi Tierney, the director general for customer services at the Home Office, 96 percent of the channel crossers who arrived in the UK last year are still waiting for a final decision on their asylum status. With migrants expected to continue crossing the channel, that figure is expected to continue to increase.
To further complicate the process, priority is given to claims based on the vulnerability of the person applying for asylum rather than by their length of time in the country, so there is no priority given to those who have been staying in hotels for a year if they are not deemed to be vulnerable enough to meet the requirement.
Driving the uptick in migrant arrivals is an influx in Albanian immigrants to the UK. According to Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, Dan O’Mahoney, 12,000 of the 38,000 channel crossers this year are Albanian nationals and 10,000 of them are single, adult men. When addressing concern about the rising figures, O’Mahoney said, “Two years ago, 50 Albanians arrived in the U.K. in small boats. Last year, it was 800.”
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The recent rise in Albanian arrivals comes as Albanian gangs have found a foothold in France from which they have begun smuggling migrants. O’Mahoney continued, “The rise has been exponential, and we think that is in the main due to the fact that Albanian criminal gangs have gained a foothold in the north of France and have begun facilitating very large numbers of migrants.
The UK is not the only European country struggling with a surge of migrants. Spain has been battling a recent rise in illegal migration from Morocco as human smugglers in North Africa have begun using jet skis to send migrants across the 8-mile Straight of Gibraltar.