Home Secretary promises more action to stop migrant boats

Number of migrants crossing English Channel to reach UK 'deeply concerning', immigration minister says

'Deeply concerning': Why the rise in migrants crossing the English Channel?

He told the Daily Telegraph that numerous factors behind the increase in crossings are "outside of our control". Crossings had been "easier" since the end of October because of the mild weather, she said.

"While we have obligations to genuine asylum seekers we will not stand by and allow reckless criminals to take advantage of some of the most vulnerable people in our global society".

In phone talks on Sunday, which the Home Office described as "significant and productive", Mr Javid and his French counterpart Christophe Castaner agreed to ramp up co-operation to stop the crossings.

It pledged to increase joint patrols and surveillance and to dismantle the criminal gangs involved in trafficking.

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott accused Mr Javid of exploiting the problem.

French authorities rescued eight migrants off the port of Calais
French authorities rescued eight migrants off the port of Calais

The main United Kingdom opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said there was a "duty to reach out the hand of humanity" to people facing danger and seeking safety.

However, in the face of calls for more Border Force Cutters to be deployed in the Channel, he said it was "vital we strike a balance between protecting them and protecting our borders" - and avoid encouraging more people to take the risk.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid declared a "major incident" on Friday after dozens of migrants in small boats arrived on the Kent coast over the Christmas period.

A group of migrants has been detained close to a Kent beach after they are understood to have crossed the English Channel in an inflatable boat.

"We are being told that those touting for these crossings are absolutely open about it", Lucy Moreton of the Immigration Services Union told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

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"I can't comment on his whereabouts for security reasons, but he is on his way back and he will be at his desk on Monday", she said."He is taking control of the situation and I am in regular contact with him, and we had a conference call just yesterday".

"That is why I will continue to work closely with all partners to ensure we do even more to intercept these boats before they reach the United Kingdom, to tackle the organised crime gangs that facilitate many of these risky journeys, and to deter and protect those driven to make them".

Mr Javid said that he was keeping the number of vessels under review.

But he added: "It falls short of the kind of joint action and operations needed on the English Channel - specifically for the immediate return to France of people found making illegal crossings". But now we have smugglers on the French coast and it is really a network. "I am calling for our Border Force cutters now cruising the Mediterranean to return to United Kingdom waters and form a new Dover Patrol to take back control of our borders immediately".

Mr Javid has asked for an urgent call with his French counterpart to address the problem following a Christmas period which has seen a spate of attempts by migrants to cross to the United Kingdom by boat.

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"Let's start by bringing back our cutters to the English Channel".

Ms Parrot said smugglers are using the prospect of Brexit as a way to try to encourage migrants to attempt the perilous crossing before the impending change in United Kingdom relations with the EU.

Security has been tightened at key locations in and around Calais where migrants have in the past congregated to try to get onto lorries for the final leg of the journey to the UK.

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