Not true. We retain full border controls as an EU member — along with Ireland, we are outside the borderless Schengen area.
And in fact we are far better able to enforce those rules while we remain within the EU, for three reasons.
- We can maintain our border controls at Calais rather than Dover. This is an agreement with our EU neighbour, France, which means we can process arrivals before they reach the UK. If people arrived at Dover and then were found not eligible to come in, we would have the often difficult problem of deporting them — a problem which we avoid through our partnership with France.
- We can use the Dublin regulation — an EU agreement that asylum-seekers should be dealt with by the EU country in which they first arrived. You can waive that rule, if you want, as Germany has done recently. But Britain relies on it to send many asylum-seekers back to the EU country they first arrived in — some 12,000 since 2003.
- We are part of the EU’s system of cooperation among police and intelligence forces. This means we get information on certain people when they arrive, from fingerprints to criminal records. It also means cooperating to fight international gangs of people traffickers.
A main tactic of the Brexit campaign is to convince us that we should be terrified of immigration — they claim that we can’t control our own border while we stay in the EU. Don’t be fooled. We control it better.