Refugees are absolutely not illegal immigrants. They don’t want to enter our country illegally – the problem is that they have no choice. If you come from a country that is at war or under oppression it’s unlikely that country will issue you with a passport or visa, so you have no legal way to travel.
Claiming asylum presents a legal anomaly. Asylum is a legal right, but to claim it you have to be physically present in the country and there is no legal way to get here. That’s why we campaign for ‘safe and legal’ routes; they don’t exist for most refugees. There are some exceptions, but they apply to such a tiny percentage of refugees they make little difference.
As soon as they arrive in the UK, refugees declare themselves to the authorities so they can submit asylum claims. This makes them ‘asylum seekers’. They don’t want to ‘sneak’ into our country – all they want is a fair hearing for their claims.