Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama has called for an end to the rhetoric “xenophobic“and”criminalused against Albanians in the massive illegal immigration to Britain and asked for cooperation and respect from his British colleagues. In fact, thousands of Albanians crossed the English Channel and sought asylum in 2022.
Irregular migrants heading to Britain, mostly in dinghies, have been in the headlines over the summer. British authorities said as many as 14,000 Albanians had made the perilous journey since January.
Albanians have been leaving the country for centuries in waves of migration, so much so that a number equivalent to half the current population has emigrated in the past three decades alone. However, the number of people traveling to the UK has drawn the attention of the British media and authorities.
“Targeting Albanians (as some shamefully did when campaigning for Brexit) as the cause of Britain’s crime and border issues allows for easy rhetoric but ignores hard facts. Repeating the same things and expecting different results is madness (ask Einstein!)“, Rama tweeted on Wednesday.
According to him, 70% of the 14,0000 Albanians who have settled in Britain used to live in Italy and Greece, and 1,200 of them are hard-working, tax-paying businessmen.
“Britain must tackle criminal gangs of all nationalities and stop discriminating against Albanians to excuse political mistakes“, he added. Edi Rama further noted that Britain needs to strengthen its systems and “do not respond with a rhetoric of crime that ends up punishing the innocentalludes to British claims that all Albanians entering the UK are criminals abusing the system.
Rama confirmed that he is ready to cooperate in the fight against crime, yet said that “facts are paramount. So is mutual respect“, he continued, saying that the British government should stop blaming the Albanians”the failure of his policies“.
Of the thousands of people believed to have sought asylum in the UK this year, no data has been provided on where they are from, whether they are from Albania or other European countries. For several years, Albania has been one of the main countries of origin for Albanians seeking asylum in the EU, and many of them are granted the right to stay.
However, the number of irregular migrants has prompted swift action from Britain, which plans to send Immigration Secretary Robert Jenrick to the country to cement a deal to send them home.
Jenrick said on Wednesday that London was working to introduce a system “accelerated“to speed up the deportation of migrants who do not have the right to stay, which could send them back”in a few daysOther options would be to rescue them, detain them, or tag them.
However, the deprivation of liberty may not exceed a period of time.within reasonable limitsand can only be permitted if there is a realistic prospect of removal. The ministers say they can deal with these cases quickly and build on early return agreements that came close to being signed by former Home Secretary Priti Patel but have been shelved due to recent political unrest.
However, the legality of these processes is already in doubt, with one legal expert telling The Times: “How can you exercise your appeal rights if you are not in the UK? It would be extrajudicial and contrary to the rights guaranteed by the UN Refugee Convention.“.
A source working with the Home Office to process Albanian asylum cases told EURACTIV that the number of applications sent to them has dropped to zero for about a month, suggesting that the UK government may already be to stem the flow. This is worrying as up to half of those who applied were previously granted protection.
The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) recently stated that more than 70% of all asylum seekers would have their application accepted if properly processed.
“We believe that most people crossing the Channel would be successful in their asylum applications if properly consideredsaid a spokesman for the institute. He also noted that “there are more asylum applications in France than in the UK, but those who cross the Channel usually have special reasons – for example, they may have family or community ties to the UK“.
As for the reasons that push people to migrate, they are complex and depend on a number of factors. These include a trend of emigration dating back centuries, combined with current problems such as poverty, economic crisis, lack of opportunity and problems with crime, including human trafficking, human trafficking and domestic violence.
But there are other reasons that the British media do not dwell on. In particular, the lack of reconciliation with the communist regime, which has led to intergenerational trauma, lack of identity and disconnection from society.
Lori Amy, a professor at Georgia Southern University and a resident of Albania, believes that the country’s past influences current migration patterns.
“A whole history of trauma since the Ottomans, the first Balkan war, communism, the civil war of 1997, the massive emigration in waves, the purges… there has never been any reconciliation. Reconciliation is necessary with the entire history of trauma, or we will continue to repeat the cycles we have seen emerge throughout the 20th century.»
Journalist and political analyst Neritan Sejamini told EURACTIV that there appears to be no obvious reason for the increase other than normal migration patterns.
“In particular, the unusually high emigration rate can hardly be attributed to economic factors alone. Unfortunately, there has been no research and studies on the matter, but I also believe that sociological and psychological factors are very important“, he declared.
The director of the Albanian Institute of Public Relations, Alfred Rakipi, said that the economic component is there, as people live on less than 400 euros a month, but that governance also has an impact.
“Behind the economic questions, it is about governance and the future. There is no trust on the part of the people; they don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and they don’t feel like they can build a future herehe told EURACTIV, while clarifying that UK government figures could be “exaggeratedfor political reasons.
Finally, pull factors include a large UK diaspora and social media such as TikTok, which has been used by gangs to advertise multi-thousand pound crossings. The videos directly target young people, mostly men, who are under pressure from society to provide for the financial needs of the extended family.
Although the UK government plans to pump millions into the region to entice people to stay, it is unlikely to have an impact unless the deeper sociological causes are addressed.
“As a society we need to think, politicians need to think because this is really a threat to us, a threat to security – as more than half of the population has left the countryadded Mr Rakipi.