Published: Tue, January 01, 2019
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

France, Britain agree action plan on migrant Channel crossings

France, Britain agree action plan on migrant Channel crossings

The British Home Office has said six Iranian men have been found on a beach in Kent.

The Home Office has not said whether any of the other four cutters would return.

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.

With well over 100 migrants having broken into Britain by boat in recent weeks, the majority of whom reportedly hail from Iran, Home Secretary Sajid Javid on Friday declared a "major incident" in English waters, cutting short his Christmas break overseas to respond to the issue.

French authorities rescued eight migrants off the port of Calais
French authorities rescued eight migrants off the port of Calais

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has called the crossings a "major incident" and reached out to French officials for more coordination.

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.

Thanking the French minister for his "partnership", Mr Javid said: "The UK and France will build on our joint efforts to deter illegal migration - protecting our borders and human life".

In the past two months, at least 221 migrants have tried to cross from France to Britain by way of the channel, the BBC reported.

"This can not be done on the cheap with the half-hearted Dad's Army-type set-up suggested by the Home Office in the past".

Mr Javid is due to hold a crisis meeting with senior Whitehall officials, Border Force and the National Crime Agency.

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.

She said: "It is feasible that were we to put additional craft (out) they might act as a magnet - encouraging people to make a perilous crossing".

He said: "For the most part people who were seeking asylum in the United Kingdom arrived by plane".

At present one is in use, supported by two smaller patrol boats.

"I like this one, it looks safe", said a young Iraqi man at a camp in Calais who gave his name as Ali and was browsing the site. Several arrests of suspected people smugglers have been made.

Chris Matcham, who watched the events unfold, said: "I was driving towards New Romney this morning with my sister when a police vehicle came haring past us along the road".

"Instead of laying the blame exclusively at the hands of criminal gangs, Sajid Javid must step up and provide safe passage for those in distress if he wants to avoid further human tragedy", the charity said in a statement.

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