Boris Johnson Warns Migrants Who Cross English Channel: 'We Will Send You BACK'
UK prime minister issues warning to migrants who try to illegally enter country
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has issued a stern warning to migrants attempting to cross the English Channel in a bid to enter the country illegally, threatening; "We will send you back."
The PM's comments follow a surge in attempts to cross the sea between Britain and France.
Almost 100 people have been caught in one day taking small boats to try to make the dangerous crossing.
Home Secretary Priti Patel is seeking to address the crisis in talks with her French counterpart, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner.
But Mr. Johnson's comments have been branded "misleading" and "inflammatory" by campaigners.
Boris told reporters: "Clearly the most important thing is to stop them coming across from France, so we are working very closely with the French authorities.
"The point I would just make to people thinking of making this journey - one, it is very hazardous, you may think the weather looks great but it's a very, very dangerous thing to do.
"The second thing is - we will send you back.
"The UK should not be regarded as a place where you could automatically come and break the law by seeking to arrive illegally.
"If you come illegally, you are an illegal migrant and I'm afraid the law will treat you as such."
According to the Daily Mail, the UK has a legal obligation under what is known as the Dublin Regulation to ensure asylum applications lodged are examined and considered.
Campaigners said it was important applications were not "pre-judged."
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants said: "The UK is perfectly capable of providing safety and a well-functioning, dignified welcome for desperate people trapped in limbo across Europe.
"Those who are forced to take dangerous means of reaching our shores have a legal right to have their voice heard and we should be creating safe and legal routes for vulnerable people to come.
"Johnson's comment is misleading, designed to inflame tension and, if put in practice, would violate international law."
Annette Elder, a partner at human rights law firm Elder Rahimi and a member of the Law Society's immigration committee, told the PA news agency: "Clearly it's not possible to say that everyone who crosses the Channel in small boats from France is going to be sent back.
"The UK is bound by legal obligations.
"This is another example of the way asylum seekers are criminalized.
"To talk about people illegally crossing the Channel - it's inflammatory.
"It misrepresents the situation. Everyone has a right to seek asylum."
One way Mr. Johnson could seek to tackle the crisis was by resolving problems with legal processes so they worked more effectively, she added.
Liberal Democrat shadow home secretary Christine Jardine branded the comments "unlawful and inhumane," adding:
"It is just plain wrong for Boris Johnson to label refugees crossing the Channel as 'illegal migrants.'
"Quite apart from the dehumanizing language, there is nothing illegal about seeking sanctuary in the UK and it is shameful that we have a prime minister who says it is.
"We know that many of these people have fled persecution in Iran.
"For the prime minister to casually dismiss their rights to asylum with no evidence whatsoever is unlawful and inhumane."
She said the way to stop the crossings was through an "an effective and compassionate response" with safer legal routes to sanctuary and a "stronger" Border Force.
Downing Street refused to comment further and a spokeswoman said "we cannot elaborate" when asked by PA if the prime minister was proposing the UK breached its legal responsibility in this matter.
The row came after a boat carrying 11 migrants is intercepted off the coast a Dover the morning after a day in which more than 50 others were intercepted trying to reach Britain on small boats.
The group, made up of nine men and two women, arrived crammed in a small boat and have been taken in for quizzing by immigration officials.
They all presented themselves as either Iran or Niger nationals after arriving at 9 am.
They were picked up by a Border Force coastal patrol vessel and brought into Dover.
Border Force officers intercepted the first boat attempting to cross the Dover Strait yesterday at around 4 am and brought it back to Dover.
A second boat, containing 11 migrants, was intercepted at 5 am and a third arrived at around 10 am.
Migrants on those boats were also brought to Dover to be interviewed by Home Office immigration officials.
A further 16 migrants - including a child of around three and two women - were brought to shore at Rye Harbour in East Sussex at around 3.30 pm.
On Wednesday, two boats carrying 21 male migrants, including one boy, were also intercepted.
More than 1,200 people have attempted the crossing since January this year and at least 845 have made it to the UK.
The dangerous crossings are continuing despite migrants dying while making the journey.
Last week, an Iranian woman died - she was presumed drowned after a boat carrying 20 migrants ran into poor weather conditions.