Speaking to Express.co.uk, Kevin Saunders, who served as UK immigration director in Calais for 16 years, said it was wrong to criticize lifeboats for helping migrants to the English coast after Brexiteer Nigel Farage called the association a “taxi service” during the migrant crisis.
Mr Saunders pointed out that Mr Farage and others “just cannot criticize them [the RNLI] to save lives â, because he stressed that their duty is to save lives at sea.
But he insisted that what should be criticized is the RNLI being put in the situation where it must step in and help migrants at risk in the Channel.
Mr Saunders criticized that the UK should “not rely on the RNLI to save these people” because he said the problem should be handled by border forces and not by volunteers.
But he warned that the problem is that UK Border Force “simply cannot cope” due to the lack of ships and resources at their disposal to deal with the crisis which has seen a startling number of 24,000 migrants cross. the Channel in 2021 alone.
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Mr Saunders suggested that more investment in Border Force was therefore vital to tackle what Home Secretary Priti Patel has now recognized as a “mass migration crisis”.
But in a surprising appeal, the former immigration chief called on the Royal Navy to intervene in the crisis given the lack of resources available to the Border Force.
He suggested that the Navy actually had the right boats and equipment that “could do the same job” as the Border Force.
The comments come as Priti Patel launched a furious attack on Brussels on Thursday evening for fueling the Channel migrant crisis.
It comes as the government is discussing with other countries to see if migrants can be treated abroad to deter them from traveling to France.
Responding to a question from reporters after it was said the UK would be in talks with Albania to conduct migrant checks, she said everything was “on the table” to sort out the issue.
Albanian Foreign Minister Olta XhaÃ§ka said such an agreement was “false news”.