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UK Must Tighten Migrant Barriers - Minister

FILE: Inflatable dinghies, used by migrants to cross the English Channel are brought to port, April 14, 2022, in the marina at Dover. Britain announced then that it will send migrants and asylum seekers thousands of miles away to Rwanda under a controversial deal later challenged

A British cabinet minister on Tuesday vowed "more radical" policies to counter illegal migration as record numbers make the treacherous crossing of the Channel in small boats.

Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick told British media "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."

"The United Kingdom 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.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has been heavily criticized for describing as an "invasion" the numbers of asylum seekers arriving on England's south coast.

But Jenrick defended her on Tuesday.

"'Invasion' is a way of describing the sheer scale of the challenge," he told Sky News.

"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 £6.8 million ($7.8 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 center.

"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 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.

The incident caused minor injuries to staff and was not being treated as terrorism related, Braverman said.

The incident is seen by observers as an indication that a portion of the UK's population, likely the same lot that supported Brexit, are angry to see wave after wave of migrants land at Dover and claim asylum.