Channel migrants: UK Minister defends handling of 'crisis'

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

The immigration minister says the number of migrants crossing the English Channel in recent days is "deeply concerning".

Nine Iranians, including three children, were the first to be found early Thursday on a beach near the Kent port town of Folkstone, after sailing from northern France in a 13-foot (four-metre) inflatable boat.

The Member of Parliament for Dover on England's southeast coast, Charlie Elphicke, has called for more government funding to deal with the arrivals and the Home Office said Javid has asked border officials to look at options for bringing in extra patrol ships.

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.

Mr Elphicke called for more patrol boats to be deployed in the Channel, and said: "For too long the Home Office has not been taking this seriously enough, and the crisis has continued to escalate".

Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, offered Mr Javid the...

At least 46 migrants crossed the channel into the United Kingdom over Christmas, according to reports.

However, compared with the number of refugees seeking asylum in the United Kingdom every year, the number who have attempted to cross the channel by dinghy is tiny, says BBC political correspondent Ben Wright.

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Speaking to Tom Watson on LBC, Labour MP and chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee Yvette Cooper said that Mr Javid will face questions from the committee on the incident.

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

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

One French MP said smugglers were using uncertainty over Brexit to make false assertions to migrants that they should cross now as security will be tighter later.

"It is vital we strike a balance between protecting them and protecting our borders, ensuring we do not encourage more people to make this unsafe journey".

"We are being told that those touting for these crossings are absolutely open about it", she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"They are around and about in the camps, they are in the cafes in Calais". Several arrests of suspected people smugglers have been made.

The charity said: "How can we claim to uphold our proudest tradition of offering sanctuary to those fleeing persecution if we require people to make death-defying journeys to claim that right and then imprison them indefinitely in detention centres when they arrive?"

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