Security Minister Brandon Lewis has written in the Daily Express about cracking down on the illegal activities of smugglers in order to protect vulnerable people being forced to undertake dangerous journeys.
Illegal migration is a criminal activity.
Not only are those making these illegal crossings and the callous criminals behind this trade breaking the law, but they are endangering the lives of vulnerable people on the boats.
The lives of children and adults are at risk and there is no single solution to the problem.
Because of this I want to be explicitly clear how determined we all are to bring to justice the despicable criminals who use lies and false promises to exploit and traffic vulnerable people as a way of making money illegally.
Our approach is having an impact. Last year, one hundred people smugglers were sentenced to a combined total of 320 years, thanks to the partnership we have with crime investigators who are working with Immigration Enforcement, Border Force and our international partners.
In order to deter migrants from attempting to make the journey in the first place, the Home Office has accelerated our work with France and other European countries to deport migrants who have entered the UK by small boat to countries where we can prove they have been on route to the UK.
Let’s be clear. If someone makes an illegal crossing, we will enforce the law and seek to return those making the illegal journey.
Police patrols on French beaches have doubled and drones are being deployed to hunt down and disrupt these crossings. There are also three Border Force vessels out in the Channel to detect potential crossings.
In 2020, as we leave the EU and we take back control of our borders, we will continue to do everything we can to stop these crossings occurring.