Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Jenrick said the UK “has an obligation to provide sanctuary to some of the many who flee war and persecution,” but the country’s generosity is being “abused” by illegal immigrants “skipping the queue in small boat crossings.”
More than 40,000 illegal immigrants have crossed the English Channel to reach the UK this year.
Jenrick said a “chronic shortage of acceptable accommodation” for record numbers of illegal immigrants has forced the government to procure expensive and often unsuitable hotels, burdening the taxpayer with an “unacceptable” cost.
“Human decency has to be accompanied by hard-headed common sense: illegal immigrants are not entitled to luxury hotels,” he wrote.
The minister said that economic migrants have been engaged in “asylum shopping” in Europe and that the UK has become their “destination of choice.”
He stressed: “‘Hotel Britain’ must end and be replaced with simple, functional accommodation that does not create an additional pull factor.”
He said the government is “determined to make the UK a significantly less attractive destination for illegal immigration” by clamping down on the black economy, stepping up immigration enforcement, and working closely with the security services.
Declaring the UK will be “compassionate, but not naïve,” the minister warned of the need to ensure Britain’s modern slavery laws are not exploited by illegitimate claimants.
Government figures released on Nov. 13 show that more than 40,000 illegal immigrants have crossed the English Channel to the UK so far this year, setting a new milestone.
Some 972 people were detected in 22 boats on Nov. 12, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said, taking the provisional total for the year to 40,885.
A record 1,295 illegal immigrants crossed the Channel on Aug. 22, the highest figure for a single day since the current system of record-keeping began in 2018.
According to figures from the Home Office, the number of illegal crossings has soared in recent years, with 28,526 people detected in 2021, compared to 8,466 in 2020, 1,843 in 2019, and 299 in 2018.
In April, then-Home Secretary Priti Patel signed a deal with Rwanda that involved sending illegal immigrants who had crossed the channel to the African country.
The agreement was designed to be a deterrent to those making the journey by sea, but 35,617 people have arrived by boat since it was signed.
The legality of the policy has been contested in the courts, with ministers and campaigners awaiting a ruling from High Court judges on the case.