British immigration minister Chris Philp said Tuesday he is working with his counterpart in France to finalize a new plan for blocking an illegal migrant route across the English Channel between the two countries.
Warmer weather in recent weeks as seen a surge in illegal crossings of the channel, with Britain reporting more than 600 migrants arriving there in the last two weeks. The migrants, some families that include children, have been caught crossing to southern England from makeshift camps in northern France - many navigating one of the world's busiest shipping routes in overloaded rubber dinghies.
Speaking to reporters in Paris, following talks with French government officials, Philp said President Emmanuel Macron's government agreed the high numbers making the illegal crossing are unacceptable. He said they have a “shared commitment to making sure this route of crossing the channel is made unviable. It is facilitated by ruthless criminal gangs, it puts lives at risk, and it is totally unnecessary.”
Appearing with Philp was newly appointed British Clandestine Channel Threat Commander Dan O'Mahoney, who said the European Union’s so-called Dublin Regulation, which establishes regulations for returning illegal immigrants, has made it more difficult to send immigrants home.
Britain has been seeking flexibility on those regulations from the EU since the migration surge began.
Many of the migrants seeking to reach Britain come from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria and countries in Africa, fleeing poverty, persecution or war.
Some stand a chance of being granted asylum, while others, considered illegal economic migrants, are unlikely to be allowed to remain in Britain.