UK, France to take action over rise in Channel migrant crossings

01 January, 2019, 05:58 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • PA Ready News UK               UK and France agree to ‘ramp up’ action on English Channel migrant crossings

David Wood, a former head of immigration enforcement, said the government should change its policy to return migrants to France once they are picked up and stop "Britain's border force, coastguards and lifeboats", from "being used as a taxi service for migrants".

"We are co-ordinating to strengthen our actions to combat Channel crossings undertaken by certain irregular migrants on small boats, at peril of their lives".

British border officials found 23 Iranians in three locations in Kent on England's southeast coast early Thursday, hours after French maritime authorities intercepted 11 migrants in a small boat near Sangatte.

More than 230 people have attempted the crossing in small boats since November.

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott branded Mr Javid's efforts to bring the crisis under control as "flawed" and criticised his slow response.

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.

The group were handed over to immigration authorities after being spotted in Kingsdown, near Deal.

Javid will hold talks with Whitehall chiefs, the Border Force and the National Crime Agency on Monday as he prepares to step up action.

"This can not be done on the cheap with the half-hearted Dad's Army-type set-up suggested by the Home Office in the past".


British officials blame organized crime gangs for the recent surge in migrants being launched toward England.

In Mr Javid's absence, immigration minister Caroline Nokes visited a centre handling the asylum-seeking migrants in Dover on Saturday.

The "blue-on-blue" onslaught was spearheaded by Dover MP Charlie Elphicke, who condemned the Home Secretary's "half-hearted Dad's Army type set-up". "Illegal crossings have now been on the increase for more than two months and more needs to be done as a matter of urgency".

"Moreover, we can not simply leave it to the French".

Some MPs - including Conservative backbenchers - have criticised a lack of detail, as well as calling for more Border Force patrol boats to be deployed.

Twenty three migrants were involved in three separate rescues on the Kent coast overnight and this morning.

Speaking with the backing of the church, the newspaper reports, the Rt Rev Trevor Willmott said: "Across the nation, we have been celebrating the season of hope and goodwill as we remember Christ's birth - let's not forget so soon that every person is precious".

The two countries' interior ministers, the UK's Sajid Javid and France's Christophe Castaner, spoke to each other by phone over the weekend and have both tweeted about the plan.

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