Channel crossings: Dominic Raab does not deny government wants deal to send

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Dominic Raab has not denied that ministers are hoping to secure a deal to fly migrants who cross the Channel on small boats to Albania.

The deputy prime minister and justice secretary told Sky News it is “right” to “look, at least, at possibilities of international partnerships – international processing of some of these claims”.

It comes as The Times reports ministers are hoping to seal an agreement to fly Channel-crossing migrants to the south-eastern European country for offshore processing within seven days of arrival on British beaches.

It’s suggested that the prospect of a long wait there while asylum claims are evaluated would act as a deterrent against making the treacherous journey.

A grdr Lifeboat following a small boat incident in the Channel. Picture date: Tuesday November 2, 2021.
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More than 23,000 people have arrived in the UK this year after crossing the Channel in small boats


Albania’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Olta Xhacka described the original story in the newspaper as “fake news”.

The European country is the latest destination the government has considered using as a base for an asylum processing centre.

In September last year, a Home Office source said the government was looking at the idea of “offshoring people” and it was understood that the Foreign Office carried out an assessment for Ascension Island – a remote UK territory more than 4,000 miles away.

The government reportedly looked at the practicalities of such an arrangement and decided not to proceed.

At the time, shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said: “This ludicrous idea is inhumane, completely impractical and wildly expensive – so it seems entirely plausible this Tory government came up with it.”

St Helena, in the South Atlantic, is also said to have previously been considered by the government.

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Newborn among migrants rescued in Kent

Speaking to Sky News on Thursday, Mr Raab said: “We’ve seen 19,000 crossings stopped this year alone, 65 convictions secured – the predatory criminal gangs that thrive on this miserable trade.

“And the home secretary has been engaged with her opposite numbers this week, their determination is to eliminate all of these illegal crossings.

“I think it is right there is practice around the world in relation to this to look, at least, at possibilities of international partnerships – international processing of some of these claims.”

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French police watch on as migrants cross Channel

Pressed on whether these individuals would be going to Albania, he said “that is one country” – and “we are willing to look with partners at whether it is possible to do this international processing”.

Mr…



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