They come in their hundreds looking for a better life, leaving behind the poor
living conditions of their homeland. They believe they will find their fortune in
a foreign country, even though they neither speak the language nor understand
the local customs and laws. They band together, creating mini-ghettos of their
own kind, forever changing the urban landscape into which they have settled.
Their presence invariably antagonises the locals, yet they make no attempt to
integrate. All in all, it’s a wonder that British expats are still tolerated in so
But today, Britain finds herself as not just the cause, but the victim of illegal
immigration on a scale not seen since the Pilgrim Fathers arrived en masse on the
Sir Walter Raleigh: One of the world’s earliest known illegal immigrants
In the crowded camps at Sangatte, France, hundreds of refugees wait and hope.
The tales they have to tell are harrowing: Abdul fled his home country of
Tazikistan after years of persecution: “One day, many men come chasing down
street,” he recalls. “They force me to wear silly hat, silly clothes, and they laugh
at me. They put paint on my face. They take food and throw it in my face, make
me feel sick. They laugh at me. Laughing, always laughing. When I think of it, I
just want to scream.” Abdul is now happily resettled in the U.K. and is working
as a children’s entertainer. Others are not so lucky.
In December 1999, Abdul’s friend Kashir travelled 2000 miles from his war-torn
village to seek asylum in the UK. His application was refused but his goat, Bibi,
was allowed to stay. The two haven’t seen or spoken to each other since.
Every night, dozens of men from the camp try to enter the Channel Tunnel on
foot and walk all the way to England. Most meet a grisly death under the
thundering wheels of a Eurostar train. “That’s the one flaw in the plan,” said a
man hoping to make the run that night. “If we can fix that, we’ll be okay.”
CAUGHT ON CAMERA: A man tries to illegally enter the U.K. disguised as a train. He was
eventually caught by Eurotunnel security guards who found eleven more illegals hiding in
‘Dole scrounger,’ ‘Afghan bastard,’ ‘Albanian twat’…These are just some of the
names assigned to asylum seekers by Home Office officials at Dover. “It’s okay.
They don’t speak English,” one told us. “Most of them, anyway.”
Life in an asylum seekers’ detention centre is no picnic. Most of the time is in
fact spent indoors. Nor is it like a holiday camp, since visits by entertainers
such as Bobby Davro and Jane Macdonald were halted by the U.N. on
Many escape from the centres and try to make a living as illegal workers. As
our chart below shows, the options are limited and not without risk:
But the difficulties of life in the U.K. do not appear to deter thousands of people
from trying to enter the country illegally every year.
In response, the home secretary David Blunkett has earmarked £17 million for
the construction of what is hoped will be a ultimate deterrent to illegal
immigrants: A giant wall of pork stretching for 70 miles along the Southeast
coastline. Will such drastic measures have any effect? Only time will tell.