Britain builds fences with France amid escalating migrants crisis

Britain will send the fences used at the Nato summit to Calais in an effort to stop illegal immigrants getting into Britain from the French port.

The Immigration Minister said the move is part of a bid to send a message that the UK is “no soft touch” for migrants.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph James Brokenshire addressed the problem at the port as increasing numbers of migrants flock to the town in an attempt to reach the shores of Britain.

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In recent months as numbers have risen clashes have erupted between rival migrants, and the Mayor of Calais has made a direct appeal to the UK to help deal with the trouble.

Mr Brokenshire said it was up to the French to maintain security and order on their own 
land, but added that the UK would do what it could to help – recalling a £3m boost to the port 
earlier this year to improve security.

The Minister said the new fencing would replace the “inadequate” arrangements currently in place, and added that a hope would be to create secure parking for legal travellers to wait without the threat of hassle from any disruption.

In a stark warning to would-be illegal immigrants, Mr Brokenshire said they “should be under no illusion about what awaits them if they arrive here illegally”.

He said the Immigration Act ensures those who should not be in Britain will not get benefits, housing, bank accounts or driving licences, and added that criminal gangs who traffic people to the port on the promise of a better life will be investigated and broken up.

Mr Brokenshire said: “Effective solutions must involve co-operation, not confrontation.

“But in working with our international partners, I am, of course ever mindful of our responsibilities on this side of the Channel, chief of which is the need for an immigration system that is fair to British citizens and legitimate migrants and tough on those who flout the law.”

On Saturday former Home Secretary Lord Howard of Lympne said France needed to “get its act together” and deal with the growing numbers of asylum seekers in Calais rather than blaming Britain. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme normal protocol was that asylum seekers applied to stay in the first safe country they reached.

“France used to take this very seriously. When I was Home Secretary, which was quite a long time ago now, we had an agreement with France under which if people came to the UK from France and claimed asylum we returned them to France and France dealt with their claim,” he said.

“That is what really ought to happen.”

Former Labour Home Secretary David Blunkett called for a unified response to the problem.

He told BBC Radio 4: “I think it is our problem and I think we need... a unified approach across the whole of Europe, not only to protect those outer borders, in particular around the Mediterranean but actually to get a grip of the organised criminality that takes place when people are trafficked.”

He added: “We cannot go back to withdrawing those security and immigration services from the French coast because once people reach the UK... we have a situation where under international conventions they can claim asylum.”