Kent

'Iraqi and Iranian migrants' found in English Channel

Border Force vehicle
Image caption Border Force officials picked up the migrants

Eleven migrants, including children, have been found in a small boat in the English Channel.

The group of men and women indentified themselves as Iraqi and Iranian when they were picked up by Border Force.

They have been medically assessed and transferred to immigration officers for interview.

A Home Office spokesman said: "Anyone crossing the Channel in a small boat is taking a huge risk with their life and the lives of their children."

"We have also agreed a joint action plan with France and increased activity out of the Joint Coordination and Information Centre in Calais.

"Earlier this month, the home secretary and the French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner agreed to continue to explore options to reinforce the efforts already being made.

"It is an established principle that those in need of protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach and since January more than 35 people who arrived illegally in the UK in small boats have been returned to Europe."

At least 805 people, including an estimated 72 children, have crossed the Channel in small boats since 3 November 2018.

The Home Secretary declared a major incident in the Channel in December and two cutters returned to UK waters from overseas operations.

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