Safe bor­ders are cru­cial

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIAL & COMMENTS -

THERESA May has come un der fire from Leave cam­paign ers in the EU ref­er­en­dum for seek­ing to dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween im­mi­gra­tion and bor­der con­trol. But was she wrong to do so? Un­like coun­tries in the Schen­gen area of con­ti­nen­tal Europe, the UK re­tains the right to stop peo­ple at the fron­tier and check who they are. The Home Sec­re­tary has the power to refuse en­try to any­one whose pres­ence in the coun­try would not be con­ducive to the public good.

That ap­plies whether they are from in­side or out­side the EU. In­deed, a prom­i­nent mem­ber of the Leave cam­paign, the Labour MP Gisela Stu­art, has asked Mrs May to ban Marine Le Pen, leader of the French Front Na­tional, from visiting the UK to cam­paign in the ref­er­en­dum, which rather proves the point. It is, there­fore, not true that any­one from the EU can come into the coun­try willy-nilly – though if they have done noth­ing wrong or are not per­sona non grata then they can­not be de­nied en­try and the op­por­tu­nity to set­tle here. Our right to check on ar­rivals re­mains, what­ever the out­come of the ref­er­en­dum on June 23. The is­sue, there­fore, is how ro­bust those checks are. The two sides in the ref­er­en­dum cam­paign can ar­gue about im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy, though it is a fact that if we want to stop EU cit­i­zens com­ing to Bri­tain to set­tle then we need to leave. But bor­der se­cu­rity is cru­cial what­ever the coun­try’s stance on im­mi­gra­tion. Are our sys­tems suf­fi­ciently ef­fec­tive to en­sure ter­ror­ists are not able to wan­der in and out of the coun­try, claim­ing EU free-move­ment rights, or sim­ply as tourists? As this news­pa­per re­ported last week, for­mer po­lice chiefs and oth­ers with ex­per­tise in this area are con­cerned that they may not be. Mrs May said mem­ber­ship of the EU was im­por­tant be­cause we can only stop peo­ple “if we’ve got the in­for­ma­tion we need to have”. The im­pli­ca­tion was that the EU pro­vided it. But as was ev­i­dent in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the Paris and Brus­sels atroc­i­ties, the po­lice and in­tel­li­gence ser­vices failed to keep watch on the ji­hadists in their midst. Our bor­der se­cu­rity is only as strong as the in­for­ma­tion on which it is based. Min­is­ters need to en­sure that UK bor­der con­trols can iden­tify ter­ror­ists, crim­i­nals and oth­ers who would do us harm. To say this will be eas­ier if we re­main in EU sim­ply de­fies ev­i­dence. — The Tele­graph

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