Thursday, 14 May 2009

Now migration makes the front page again

Here's today's Express. Two immediate reasons to believe the story isn't true. One, it's an immigration story on the front of the Express. Two, it begins with the word 'Now...'

The story does refer to migrants, illegal immigrants and these same people are said to be 'flooding' into 'Greece to claim asylum in Britain', if that even makes sense. So there's some confusion over who these people are - if they even exist at all...

The claim is that a trafficking gang recently arrested in Paris has revealed how it took £10,000 in exchange for a fake passport, visa and a flight to Ireland, where the 'migrants' then moved into Northern Ireland and then got a ferry to Scotland or Liverpool.

(The Mail version says they 'fly into Britain', as if Ireland isn't a seperate country...)

Of course 'smuggling' sounds like something underhand and hidden, which would be hard to do if they were in 'club class'. But the phrase 'club class' isn't actually meant to mean that - as this story from 5 years ago shows - although the headline makes it sound like it is.

But there are further problems with the story. One is that it assumes that passport control in Ireland is so appalling all these fake passports are waved through without any question.

It also fails to give any accurate indication of how many people have actually made this journey. The implication in the way the story is written ('migrants from across Asia and the Middle East') is that it is loads. But the French say the gang smuggled maybe 150 people in total over the course of 9 months. The Express admits - deep into the story - while 'most went to Britain, while others chose to start new lives in Scandinavia and Canada,' a fact that has been deleted from later versions of the story on the Mail site.

The gang are said to have made £500,000, but if they were charging £10,000 for this 'club class' service, that would only mean 50 people smuggled. If they claim it's three times more than that, then that would suggest very few paid for the 'club class' passage.

The Express says the migrants paid £3,000 to go from Greece to Paris. If 150 people paid £3,000 to get to France, that is £450, how many people did make the journey via Ireland?

In any case: 'The suspects have made full confessions in exchange for a reduction in prison sentences,' which suggests we shouldn't take all their claims as being totally credible.

Ditto the Express.

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