By Olivia Johnson, CNN International Editor, and Emma Johnson, CNN Travel Editor.
So the reopening of Calais docks earlier this week may finally give hope to British customs officers who have experienced a dramatic surge in cross-Channel arrivals in recent months.
The situation on the French side — with thousands of refugees and illegal immigrants arriving in France while a proposed border deal between the UK and France is still being negotiated — has been put under severe strain over the last two years.
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According to the World Bank, only 22% of border points in all of Western Europe are fully equipped for customs procedures; 70% are fully or partially under-staffed; and only 55% have access to appropriate processing facilities.
Johnson reports from Calais on a precarious balance between dealing with the true need for safe immigration for all people and the desire of the French to repatriate those who have yet to be deported.
CNN’s Emma Johnson joins CNN’s File with Chris Cuomo and Chris Cuomo on the border between the UK and France. Read the full transcript here
Olivia Johnson/CNN/Getty Images
The rights of migrants and illegal immigrants have been at the forefront of discussion in recent weeks after officials announced a plan to dismantle what many consider the criminal camps in Calais.
The chaos in Calais and similar camps across Europe has received international attention in the run-up to the country’s upcoming general election, as voters in France have grappled with the difficult conundrum of immigration and refugees.
Around the time of the referendum vote in June 2016, CNN’s Jonathan Marcus reported on people arriving to Calais to cross the Channel.
“The reason we see so many people coming is, frankly, in large part because of a dreadful set of political decisions made in this country,” said Grant Shapps, a member of Parliament and former Conservative Party Chairman.