Published: Mon, December 31, 2018
World News | By Sandy Lane

Iranian migrants found on United Kingdom beach as English Channel crossings mount

Iranian migrants found on United Kingdom beach as English Channel crossings mount

Home Secretary Sajid Javid is under pressure to "get a grip" on the issue of migrants attempting to cross the English Channel amid criticism over the Government's response.

Britain's Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said Thursday that a spike in migrants crossing the Channel by boat was "deeply concerning", after dozens of people were rescued overnight.

Authorities on both sides of the Channel are anxious about the sharp increase in the number of migrants trying to reach Britain by sea.

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Only one of the Border Force's fleet of five cutters - specialist boats which the force describes as being capable of rescuing several migrant boats at the same time - is now operational in the Dover Strait.

On Saturday Mr Javid said he was keeping the number of Border Force vessels in the Channel "under close review", but admitted there was "no one easy answer".

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. "We had someone with us who was supposed to know about engines, but he didn't".

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The National Crime Agency said that tackling the criminals behind these "extremely dangerous" attempted crossings was an "operational priority" and significant resources were devoted to them.

Responding to a call for compassion from the Bishop of Dover, Mr Corbyn said: "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".

He added that he anticipated further arrests in the coming weeks and thought more attempts to reach the United Kingdom were likely.

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"He has insisted the Home Office treat the situation as a major incident and has. asked for daily updates", it said in a statement on Friday.

A spokeswoman for the French Maritime Prefecture, Ingrid Parrot, said authorities were dealing with a "network" of organised people smugglers.

She added: "The co-operation between us and the French has been very effective and is ongoing".

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The more recent numbers are in addition to at least 250 migrants intercepted in the first 11 months of the year, including 65, mostly from Iran, in the last three weeks of November, The Guardian reported.

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