UK minister questions asylum claims by migrants from the sea

January 2, 2019
Britain's Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes talks to a Border Force officer as a Border Force RIB passes in the harbour, in Dover, England, to discuss recent attempts by migrants to reach Britain by small boats, Saturday Dec. 29, 2018. Home Secretary Sajid Javid is cutting short a family holiday to help deal with the "major incident" of a rising number of migrants attempting to cross the English Channel by boat from northern France. (Victoria Jones/PA via AP)

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s Home Secretary has questioned whether migrants trying to enter England from France by taking small boats across the English Channel are genuine asylum-seekers.

Minister Sajid Javid said Wednesday during a visit to the coastal city of Dover that almost all the migrants who make the risky crossing seek asylum in Britain even though they are coming from France. He noted that France is regarded as a safe location.

Javid says “if you are a genuine asylum-seeker, why have you not sought asylum in the first safe country that you arrived in?”

Javid says about 230 migrants tried to cross the English Channel in December alone. He has called the rise a “major incident” and has redeployed two Border Force vessels to deter such crossings.

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