French police cleared the camp near the port on Tuesday where migrants had pitched tents. It comes amid a surge in the number of asylum seekers attempting to cross the English Channel. But Home Secretary Sajid Javid urged migrants to “think twice” if they planned to travel to the UK from France or another safe country.
Speaking to the Commons on Monday, Mr Javid said: “We are sending a very clear message.
“If you have passed through a safe country, and that of course includes France, then we would seek to make your claim inadmissible.
“You should think twice about taking that journey and do not, do not, give your money to these people smugglers, these vile criminals, and do not take this dangerous journey.
“If you are seeking protection, seek protection in the first safe country that you can.”
And Mr Javid defended questioning whether people making the dangerous journey across the Channel are “genuine” refugees.
The Home Secretary said he was “continuing to monitor the issue of Channel crossings daily” and acknowledged that the situation had “provoked a debate”.
He added: “I’m not afraid to say that I think there are some legitimate questions that need to be asked, why for instance are so many people to cross the Channel from France to the UK when France itself is a safe country?
“The principle of the first safe country is well established and widely accepted in international law.”
Mr Javid declared the number of migrants attempting to cross the Channel in small boats a “major incident” at the end of December.
It followed an increase in the number of people risking their lives by crossing the world’s busiest shipping lane.
More than 200 migrants have arrived in the UK by boat since November and 543 attempts to cross the Channel were recorded in 2018.
However the Home Secretary faced some criticism for declaring the migrant crossings a “major incident”, with accusations the move was more to do with “positioning for the forthcoming Tory leadership battle”.
Mr Javid said: “There has been a significant increase in the number of crossings through this method, through small boats across the English Channel.
“As I said 543 attempts in 2018, not all successful, 40 percent roughly disrupted but 80 percent of those taking place in the last three months particularly in the month of December so there is a definite trend of increase there and it needs to be dealt with as quickly as possible.”
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