Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Small boat crammed with 11 migrants from Iraq and Iran is picked up in the Channel bringing the total for June to a record 163 so far – with more than 700 arrivals since last November

  • The small boat was picked up in the Channel near Kent at around 4.30am today 
  • It brings the total number of migrants attempting to cross Channel in June to 163
  • Group, including children, presented themselves as mixture of Iranian and Iraqi
Eleven migrants attempting to cross the English Channel were today picked up by border force officers - bringing the total number for June to a record 163. 
The group, who identified themselves as Iraqi and Iranian, were caught off the Kent coast at around 4.30am and have now been transferred to immigration officials. 
Charlie Elphicke, the Tory MP for Dover, this morning labelled the attempted crossing 'incredibly dangerous' and urged swift action to tackle the crisis.   
It comes just days after 40 migrants from PakistanIraq and Afghanistan were caught using two boats to get across the channel. 
The eleven migrants were picked up by border force officials (stock image) at around 4.30am as they attempted to cross the English Channel
The eleven migrants were picked up by border force officials (stock image) at around 4.30am as they attempted to cross the English Channel
Reacting to the news, Mr Elphicke said: 'This makes 163 illegal entrants so far this month. These crossings are incredibly dangerous and it's vital France and the UK act to tackle this crisis and the bring the people traffickers that lie behind it to justice. 
More than 700 have been picked up on British waters since last November. Weather conditions are said to have been 'ideal' for crossing the Channel through the night. 
A Home Office spokeswoman said: 'Anyone crossing the Channel in a small boat is taking a huge risk with their life and the lives of their children.
'Since the Home Secretary declared a major incident in December, two cutters have returned to UK waters from overseas operations.
'We have also agreed a joint action plan with France and increased activity out of the Joint Coordination and Information Centre in Calais.
'Earlier this month, the Home Secretary and the French Interior Minister, Christophe Castaner, agreed to continue to explore options to reinforce the efforts already being made.
'It is an established principle that those in need of protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach and since January more than 35 people who arrived illegally in the UK in small boats have been returned to Europe.'    
In December, Home Secretary Sajid Javid declared a major incident after 138 migrants were picked up.
He called in extra Border Force cutters in a bid to stem the surge, but 140 made it into the UK last month.  
Speaking in Dover earlier this year, Mr Javid said: 'A question has to be asked: if you are a genuine asylum seeker why have you not sought asylum in the first safe country that you arrived in?
'Because France is not a country where anyone would argue it is not safe in anyway whatsoever, and if you are genuine then why not seek asylum in your first safe country?'   
Last week 38 made it to the UK in Kent, with some pictured being taken away in a police car. And on June 1 another 74 were captured off East Sussex. 

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