If you thought the U.S. was the only country with an out-of-control illegal immigrant problem, think again. France and Britain share a common problem that led border police to a gruesome discovery early Wednesday morning in the form of a human corpse.
French police announced that the man had been crushed to death overnight as up to 1,500 people attempted to sneak illegally into the United Kingdom through the Channel Tunnel under the English Channel.
Attempted crossings are a nightly occurrence for the Channel Tunnel, but Tuesday night’s rush was particularly intense. Immigrants approached the tunnel entrance near Calais, trying to hitch a ride on trucks as they boarded shuttle trains to carry them through the tunnel. Drivers can be fined if their trucks are caught carrying illegal immigrants, but according to BBC many don’t challenge the immigrants because they fear violent retaliation if they do.
The man is actually the ninth to die while trying to clear the tunnel in just the last two months. Police told Agence-France Presse the man was likely of Sudanese origin, and between 25 and 30 years of age. He was allegedly hit by a truck and subsequently crushed underfoot.
According to police, as many as 1,000 immigrants are still hiding somewhere around the tunnel entrance, and traffic through the tunnel has been slowed down for the time being as they attempt to cope. British authorities urged those planning to travel to Calais to seek other modes of transport while they deal with the problem.
But authorities have no reason to believe the wave of attempted crossings will stop once the tunnel reopens. According to the Guardian, several thousand immigrants – mostly from Sudan, Eritrea, Syria and Afghanistan – have set up makeshift “jungle” camps in several locations around the tunnel entrance. Authorities have been slow to clear the camps out despite their illegality.
Overall, about 37,000 people have been caught attempting to cross over since January, and Eurotunnel, which operates the tunnel’s trains, says it simply can’t handle the pressure by itself. The organization that runs it, Groupe Eurotunnel, said in a statement:
The continuous pressure exerted every night is above and beyond that which a concessionaire can reasonably handle and requires a constructive and appropriate response from the [French and British] governments.
The assault of thousands of migrants on this narrow but critical transportation corridor is causing a crisis for both governments. The British cabinet is holding an emergency session Wednesday night to address the matter, while it also urges France to accelerate the construction of 1.2 miles of new security fencing around the tunnel entrance at Coquelles. While the fencing will be in France, the British government has promised to pay for it.
This report, by Blake Neff, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.