Sajid Javid's deal on migrants is too weak, say Tories
01 January, 2019, 15:20 | Author: Ted Wilson
Reports say more than 200 people have tried to cross the Channel in dinghies and small vessels since November, with over 100 having attempted the crossing since Christmas.
He said: "The reasons behind the increased crossings are complicated and in many cases outside of our control". The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said it was "easy to stir up passions", but other European countries faced far higher numbers of people coming from elsewhere.
He added that he anticipated further arrests in the coming weeks and thought more attempts to reach the United Kingdom were likely.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for a more welcoming approach, tweeting: "We have a duty to reach out the hand of humanity, support and friendship to people who are in danger and seeking a place of safety".
Mr Javid has come under growing pressure to act, and cut short a family holiday in South Africa to address the issue.
Mr Javid took the decision to return to the United Kingdom amid calls from MPs for the Royal Navy to be sent in or for Border Force cutters to be brought back from the Mediterranean to intercept traffickers' dinghies.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said the armed forces were ready to offer help if needed, but there had not been any requests from the Home Office.
Six Iranian men were found on a Kent beach early on Sunday, in the latest successful crossing of the Channel from France by migrants in inflatable boats.
ISU spokeswoman Lucy Moreton said it was "very hard to know" how much the French authorities were doing to prevent people-smuggling from the camps housing migrants around Calais.
Mr Javid is due to hold a crisis meeting with senior Whitehall officials, Border Force and the National Crime Agency.
Writing in the Sunday Mirror, the shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said the Conservatives "cannot seem to get a grip" on the operations by illegal people smugglers.
"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 unsafe journeys, and to deter and protect those driven to make them".
She said the United Kingdom was working with France to try to prevent migrants from setting out in the first place, and there was an "enormous" ongoing intelligence-led operation to deter people traffickers.
But critics pointed out that the scale of the attempted crossings paled in comparison to the migrant crisis witnessed across the world, and that the issue has been ongoing.
"Moreover, we can not simply leave it to the French".
Ms Nokes and Mr Elphicke are to discuss the situation with Border Force officers in Dover.
Mr Javid declared a "major incident" on Friday after dozens of migrants in small boats arrived on the Kent coast over the Christmas period.
"I continue to keep the number of Border Force cutters in the Channel under close review, but there is no one easy answer to this complex problem", he said.
More than 40 people tried to cross the English Channel and enter the United Kingdom on Christmas Day.
Rejecting the suggestion that increasing patrols would encourage more crossing attempts, Mr Elphicke said: "You don't deter burglars by leaving your front door open".
"Before that it was not a network, it was individual migrants who were trying to cross".
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