The UK has been told to stop blaming Albanians for the migrant crisis by the country’s prime minister.
Edi Rama said the British government needs to stop using Albanian immigrants to “excuse policy failures.”
Home Secretary Suella Braverman has singled Albanians out several times over the past week as the numbers coming from the southern European country in small boats across the Channel has soared.
Answering questions about the overcrowded Manston migrant processing center on Tuesday, she said the majority of Albanians arriving are adult single males.
Immigration minister Robert Jenrick said Albanians are “abusing” the Modern Slavery Act to delay deportation attempts.
Craig Mackinlay, the Conservative MP for South Thanet in Kent, said 12,000 Albanian migrants have arrived on small boats in the UK so far this year.
But Mr Rama has had enough and tweeted on Wednesday: “Targeting Albanians (as some shamefully did when fighting for Brexit) as the cause of Britain’s crime and border problems makes for easy rhetoric but ignores hard fact.
“Repeating the same things and expecting different results is insane (ask Einstein!).
“70% of the 140,000 Albanians who have moved to the UK were living in Italy and Greece.
“1,200 of them are business people. Albanians in the UK work hard and pay tax. UK should fight the crime gangs of all nationalities and stop discriminating v Albanians to excuse policy failures.”
He added that Albania is a NATO country and is currently negotiating its EU membership, as well as being a “safe country of origin”.
Mr Rama said when Germany had a similar problem “it tightened its own systems – the UK can and should do the same, not respond with a rhetoric of crime that ends up punishing the innocent”.
He said Albania is “not a rich country and was for a very long time a victim of empires, we never had our own”.
The PM added: “We have a duty to fight crime at home and are doing so resolutely, as cooperating closely with others too.
“Ready to work closer with UK but facts are crucial. So is mutual respect.”
On Tuesday, Ms Braverman said there has been a “surge” in Albanian arrivals, with many “abusing our modern slavery laws.”
“We are working to ensure that Albanian cases are processed and that individuals are removed as swiftly as possible – sometimes within days,” she added.
She added that over the last six to nine months there has been a rise in the number of Albanian migrants arriving in small boats via the Channel and said she was suspicious of their claims of modern slavery because Albania is a signatory to the European Convention Against Trafficking .
“If those people are genuinely victims of modern slavery, they should be claiming that protection in Albania,” she added.
Ms Braverman praised the “excellent relationship” with her Albanian counterpart for allowing the quick removal of Albanians with “no reason to be in the UK”.
On Tuesday, the Oxford Migration Observatory said 86% of Albanians who received positive decisions on asylum applications in the year ending June 2022 were women, whose leave to remain was granted on the basis that they were likely to have been trafficked by criminals and in genuine need of protection.