Friday, April 10, 2009

On Britain, France, and border controls

Ten of the twelve suspected terror plotters arrested in the U.K. in the recent raids were in the country on student visas (and were Pakistani nationals), leading to calls to reform the visa system, among other things. Border and immigration controls continue to be contentious, even when the threat of terrorism is not the main issue. In 2003, Britain and France reached an agreement giving each country's border police some limited jurisdiction in the other country: France in a zone in Dover, Britain in a zone in Calais. Now the two countries are working on a controversial plan to build a new center in Calais with the aim of making it easier to deport undocumented asylum-seekers, particularly Afghanis, Iraqis, and migrants from the horn of Africa, who seek entry into Britain by getting on trucks that will cross the Channel (via the tunnel).

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