Britain faces record migrant influx via English Channel, demands France crack down

Britain has called on France to crack down on migrants crossing the English Channel, but the French government is demanding that the UK pay for the enforcement help, according to reports.

The BBC filmed a group of people departing from a tourist beach in the north of France on Saturday morning, with BBC Europe reporter Gavin Lee claiming the boat was “overloaded.” He said he saw no sign of French authorities on the beach.

The French government has responded that it needs more money from the UK if France is to step up efforts to better monitor the channel.

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Large numbers of migrants have landed in the United Kingdom over the past few days, with a record 235 migrants on Thursday and 135 on Friday, according to the BBC. On Saturday, two boats, each containing a dozen migrants, arrived on the Kent coast, while France reported the return of 33 migrants the same day.

A Border Force vessel brings a group of people thought to be migrants into the port city of Dover, England, from small boats, Friday Aug. 7, 2020. The British government says it will strengthen border measures as calm summer weather has prompted a record number of people to attempt the risky sea crossing in small vessels, from northern France to England.

A Border Force vessel brings a group of people thought to be migrants into the port city of Dover, England, from small boats, Friday Aug. 7, 2020. The British government says it will strengthen border measures as calm summer weather has prompted a record number of people to attempt the risky sea crossing in small vessels, from northern France to England.
(Gareth Fuller/PA via AP)

The Kent County Council claimed that 400 migrant children have been taken into its care this year, including 23 on Friday alone.

The spike in illegal crossings prompted British Home Secretary Priti Patel to take to Twitter and issue a call for France to stop the boats “leaving France in the first place” and intercept them before they reach the UK.

“The number of illegal small boat crossings is appalling and unacceptably high,” Patel tweeted. “The figures are shameful.”

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Schools minister Nick Gibb told Sky News the government wants to make the route “unviable”.

“We’re talking to French ministers about preventing people leaving France in the first place, and then finding other ways of making sure that we return boats to France when they’re trying to make what is a very dangerous crossing,” Gibb said. “France is a safe country, and if people are seeking asylum, they should be seeking asylum in France in the first instance.”

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Immigration minister Chris Philp will meet his counterparts from France next week as he seeks to eventually shut down the Calais-to-Britain route, Sky News reported. He also wants migrants caught trying to cross the channel to be fingerprinted and face “real consequences.”

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