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    UK vows ‘more radical’ measures to tackle illegal migration

    LONDON (AFP) – A British Cabinet minister yesterday vowed “more radical” policies to counter illegal migration as record numbers make the treacherous crossing of the Channel in small boats.

    “We… now need to look at some more radical options to ensure that our laws are appropriate, that economic migrants are returned swiftly and that we deter people from coming to the UK,” Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick told BBC radio.

    “The United Kingdom (UK) cannot continue to be a magnet for economic migrants,” he added.

    Around 40,000 people have made the dangerous crossing across the Channel from mainland Europe so far this year, according to UK government figures.

    Under-fire Home Secretary Suella Braverman has been heavily criticised for describing as an “invasion” the numbers of asylum seekers arriving on England’s south coast.

    But Jenrick defended her yesterday.

    People inside the Manston immigration short-term holding facility in Kent. PHOTO: AP

    “’Invasion’ is a way of describing the sheer scale of the challenge,” he told Sky News.

    “It is leading to the infrastructure that we have in terms of reception centres, like Manston, in terms of hotel accommodation, and asylum and social housing, essentially being overwhelmed.”

    Jenrick accepted that conditions at the Manston migrant processing centre in Kent, southeast England, were “poor”, and that people had been sleeping on the floor on mats.

    “The problem is that thousands of people are crossing the Channel illegally every day,” he added.

    Braverman said on Monday that the government was spending GBP6.8 million (USD7.8 million) per day on housing migrants.

    She denied claims in Parliament that she “ignored legal advice” on using hotels to relieve pressure on the overcrowded processing centre.

    “What I have refused to do is to prematurely release thousands of people into local communities without having anywhere for them to stay,” she told Members of Parliament (MPs).

    Another migrant centre was fire-bombed on Sunday by a 66-year-old man said to be suffering mental ill-health, who then killed himself.

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