Illegal Seaborne Migration

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:16 pm on 4th June 2019.

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Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes The Minister for Immigration 4:16 pm, 4th June 2019

My hon. Friend will be aware that the Home Secretary met Mr Castaner earlier this year. Indeed, I accompanied him back to Calais to visit the joint co-ordination centre. There are ongoing weekly meetings between Border Force officials and the police aux frontières, and with the regional préfet and sous-préfet, to discuss precisely this issue. However, as my hon. Friend has pointed out, it is about the border on both sides of the channel. It is much more effective to prevent a small craft from leaving the beach and thereby not risking life and limb than to seek to turn anything around in mid-channel. It is crucial for us to understand the implications of rescue operations in the middle of the channel. There are often children in those boats, and tactics are often deployed to ensure that the migrants are vulnerable. How despicable is it that they are being exploited by organised crime gangs who deliberately put children in those boats? It is far safer and much more desirable for us to prevent the launch of those boats than to take action at sea.