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Patel in France to tackle migrant crossings across the English Channel

Migrants run great risks in trying to cross the English Channel from France in dinghies

Hardline home secretary, Priti Patel, visited France today to try to pressurize the French authorities into clamping down on migrant crossings across the English Channel.

The home secretary’s intervention comes on the heel of a spike in migrant crossings in recent days.

Only yesterday the UK coastguard was involved in a major search-and rescue operation after several boats of migrants crossing from France were detected in the English Channel.

According to multiple reports, the UK coastguard has scrambled two Border Force vessels, the Dover lifeboat and a coastguard aircraft to try to contain the latest crossings.

Twenty-seven migrants in several boats were intercepted yesterday (July 11).

On a visit to the French port of Calais, Patel said the numbers of crossings are “rising” despite the best efforts of the UK and France and the situation “simply cannot be allowed to go on”.

"Despite all of the action taken by law enforcement to date - intercepting the boats, making arrests, returning people to France and putting the criminals responsible behind bars - the numbers continue to increase", Patel added.

Patel claimed the main purpose of her visit is to discuss a “new operational approach” to the problem with newly-appointed French interior minister Gerald Darmanin.

To that end, the home secretary announced that the two countries had signed a deal on immigration and border management to establish a “joint intelligence unit” to "crack down on the gangs behind this vile people smuggling operation".

According to official figures, more than 2,400 people have crossed the English Channel from France in small boats this year alone.

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