CHANNEL crossings could hit 50,000 this year, the immigration minister admitted yesterday, after 46 made the perilous journey on Monday in a single boat.
Robert Jenrick vowed to look at “radical” options to tackle small boats as the yearly total is poised to smash past 40,000 tomorrow.
2Migrant crossings are expected to reach 40,000 – and it could reach 50,000 by the end of the yearCredit: AFPBut Mr Jenrick insisted it “wasn’t obvious” the numbers would skyrocket like this – despite damning warnings over the summer it could hit a staggering 60,000 by the end of the year.
However, he refused to repeat Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s comments that the flow of boats was an “invasion” of illegal immigrants.
Mr Jenrick pointedly told the BBC yesterday “It’s not a phrase I’ve used” but said it could describe “the sheer scale of the challenge”.
And he blamed the “sheer number of migrants” who crossed the Channel in recent weeks for putting “immense pressure” on the system.
But he admitted she spoke to the “very real concerns that some members of the public feel” about the issue.
He said: “I am afraid we now have to look at some more radical options to ensure our laws are appropriate, so that economic migrants are returned swiftly and that we deter people from coming to the UK.
“The United Kingdom cannot continue to be a magnet for economic migrants. We simply do not have the infrastructure in this country to manage that.”
No10 added: “We need to be clear that seeking to jump the queue in this way puts at risk those who are trying to come in through safe and secure routes.”
It came as it emerged a number of councils are seeking emergency injunctions to block the Home Office from block-booking out hotels in their areas.
Labour-run Ipswich Borough Council was given an emergency injunction to stop the four star Novotel Hotel being used to house asylum seekers, ahead of a high court clash next week.
Tory-run Stoke City Council and Great Yarmouth Councils got similar passes that threw a spanner in the works.
On Monday, another 46 migrants in a single boat crossed the Channel, according to Ministry of Defence figures.
400 quit Manston
2At least 400 migrants were expected to board coaches to leave the Manston centreMIGRANTS could be seen waving, clapping and smiling as at least 400 were expected to leave the under-pressure Manston processing centre.
Some 4,000 people were estimated to be being held at the former RAF base – which is only designed to hold 1,600 for a short period of time.
Coach loads of people were seen leaving the site, which opened in January.
Yesterday MPs accused the Home Office of breaking the law by allowing them to be kept there longer than necessary – opening the door for legal challenges and thousands of pounds in compensation.
Lucy Morton, who represents the ISU Union for Borders, Immigration and Customs warned that there are “lots of tensions” at the Kent site.
Staff were being shouted at and faced protests from furious asylum-seekers while they waited to be processed.
Improvised weapons are regularly found on people in the centre, too.
She said: “It’s a really frightening time for the staff.
“No prison in the UK has over 4,000 people uncontained, face to face with the people who are responsible for controlling them.
“It’s an utterly unsustainable situation.”
Alex Fraser, director of refugee services and restoring family links at the British Red Cross, said: “We are extremely concerned about the escalating humanitarian situation at Manston.
“No one should experience overcrowded accommodation that puts them at risk of disease and potentially being detained unlawfully.
“Sadly, the serious problems at Manston are indicative of the wider issues facing the asylum system.”
A Home Office spokesman said the department would not provide a “running commentary” on the number of people currently at the site.
Story Credit: thesun.co.uk