Britain steps up patrols of English Channel amid spike in migration

London -By Christoph Meyer, - The British government is redeploying two boats from abroad to patrol the English Channel as the

 debate intensified about a recent spike in the number of migrants crossing the channel from France.
"I have taken the decision to redeploy two Border Force vessels – known as cutters – which are currently based abroad to the UK," Home Secretary Sajid Javid said in a statement on Monday following a government meeting on the issue.
Britain's Home Office said 539 migrants attempted to travel to the UK on small boats in 2018. Of these, 80 per cent made their attempts in the last three months of the year.
A group of 12 migrants, including a 10-year-old child, arrived in Britain on Monday after crossing the English Channel from France.
The migrants arrived on a beach in the county of Kent in a black dinghy on Monday morning, Britain's Press Association reported, citing the Home Office.
According to the BBC, more than 220 have tried to cross the channel in small boats since the start of November.
Javid has called it a "major incident."
In an article for The Daily Telegraph on Sunday, he said Britain and France would strengthen their cooperation on the issue, but the reasons behind the increase in channel crossings were "complicated" and in many cases outside of the government's control.
In Monday's statement, Javid added: "Patrol boats have a role to play but there is no single solution to this complex issue and it requires action on many fronts."
The home secretary also said he had spoken to French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner and agreed an action plan that included "stepping up patrols and increasing surveillance."
"We plan to meet in the coming weeks to ensure we are doing all we can to tackle the issue," he added.
On Sunday, Castaner tweeted a picture of himself speaking on the telephone, writing that he was working with Javid "to prevent Channel crossings from certain irregular migrants in small vessels at risk to their own lives."
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott has accused the government of trying to stir up the debate around migration ahead of January's planned Brexit vote in parliament.
"People are being whipped up about migration issues, because the government thinks this is the best way of frightening people to vote for their deal," she said in comments carried by The Guardian on Monday.


Monday, December 31st 2018
By Christoph Meyer,

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