UK seeks 'tougher action' from France on Channel migrants

UK seeks 'tougher action' from France on Channel migrants
The UK immigration compliance minister said the number of small boat crossings from France was 'unacceptably high', as asylum seekers attempt to flee deteriorating conditions in Calais camps
2 min read
A child disembarks a boat in Calais after it was intercepted in the channel [Getty]
Britain on Saturday urged France to get tougher on stopping migrants using the Channel to reach the UK, with one minister saying the crossings were "unacceptably high".

The call came after Border Force figures showed 96 migrants were intercepted by police on Friday.

Twenty four hours earlier, official figures showed at least 202 migrants managed to cross to Britain in 20 boats, a single-day record.

"The number of illegal small boat crossings we are seeing from France is unacceptably high," said immigration compliance minister Chris Philp.

"And migrants continue to arrive in Calais to make the crossing. The French have to take tougher action."

Earlier this month, the interior ministers of France and Britain signed an agreement to create a new joint police intelligence unit to combat migrant traffickers and reduce the number of illegal Channel crossings.

Reports claim that more than 3,400 people have made the crossing so far this year.

In 2019, 2,758 migrants were rescued by the French and British authorities while trying to make the crossing - four times more than in 2018, according to French officials.

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Sea crossings have surged during the coronavirus lockdown as the number of trucks travelling through the Channel Tunnel dropped dramatically.

Deteriorating conditions in northern France's makeshift camps may also be forcing asylum seekers across the channel, as local charities have been forced to stop or scale back their operations in the area due to the pandemic.

Heavy maritime traffic, strong currents and low water temperatures make sea crossings especially dangerous.

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