Spike in illegal Channel crossings 'concerning': United Kingdom minister

Geraldine Edwards
January 1, 2019

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

Sky News has seen evidence of six suspected migrants being met by United Kingdom border officials on a south coast beach this morning.

A witness who works at the Zetland Arms pub, which overlooks the beach, said they saw authorities leading a small group of men from the shore to a Ford Transit van at around 9.30am.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid is cutting short a family holiday to help deal with the "major incident" of a rising number of migrants attempting to cross the English Channel by boat from northern France.

Davey said the Lib Dems want more investment in a Stronger Border force to tackle criminal gangs trafficking people, drugs and weapons and undo the "damage done by Theresa May's cuts to Britain security".

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The two European countries "are coordinating to strengthen our actions to combat Channel crossings undertaken by certain irregular migrants on small boats, at peril of their lives", Castaner wrote on Twitter.

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

The Conservative MP said the Home Office was not taking the matter "seriously enough".

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".

Mr Javid is discussing the problems with Border Force, the National Crime Agency (NCA) and other officials on Monday.

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A spokeswoman for the Immigration Services Union (ISU), which represents Border Force staff, said the two ageing Cutters available for patrols were "woefully inadequate".

He has appointed a commander to oversee the response to the incidents and asked for daily updates.

She said: "It is feasible that were we to put additional craft (out) they might act as a magnet - encouraging people to make a perilous crossing".

"They are around and about in the camps, they are in the cafes in Calais".

"We realised they were safe and sound, and the police took over", he said.

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"Instead of laying the blame exclusively at the hands of criminal gangs, Sajid Javid must step up and provide safe passage for those in distress if he wants to avoid further human tragedy".

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