Published: Tue, January 01, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Sajid Javid told to 'get a grip' on English Channel migrant crisis

Sajid Javid told to 'get a grip' on English Channel migrant crisis

The governments of France and Britain scrambled to respond Sunday to a mounting number of migrants attempting to cross the English Channel, a trend illustrated by six Iranian men who turned up on a beach in southeastern England.

The six Iranian men were discovered on a beach in Kent along with a rigid-hulled inflatable boat they are believed to have traveled in from France, British officials said.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid abandoned a luxury safari holiday to return to the United Kingdom to tackle the "major incident" involving a rise in the number of people attempting the perilous crossing, the Sunday Times says.

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.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Javid admitted the "sharp increase in the number of migrants attempting to cross the Channel in small boats" has been "deeply concerning".

Mr Javid also held a "significant and productive" phone call with French interior minister Christophe Castaner on Sunday to agree moves to deter further small boat crossings, during which they confirmed plans to have a face-to-face meeting in January.

Mr Javid said the complex factors behind the rise in numbers of people attempting the Channel crossing included instability in the Middle East, organised crime and tighter security at Calais.

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

Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes is to discuss the situation with Border Force officials
Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes is to discuss the situation with Border Force officials

British authorities took in 43 people in English waters on Christmas Day and December 26.

Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes will visit Dover on Saturday to discuss the situation on the ground with border officials.

Compared to other influxes of migrants and refugees, the numbers trying to cross the Channel recently are tiny.

He said: "The reasons behind the increased crossings are complicated and in many cases outside of our control". "Ultimately the buck stops with the Home Secretary".

Javid appointed a gold commander to deal with the crisis and asked for an urgent call with his French counterpart to deal with the issue.

The head of the National Crime Agency-led Project Invigor organised immigration crime task force Chris Hogben warned more crossings were "likely" in the coming weeks.

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

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

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