PEOPLE smuggling gangs must be smashed to halt illegal Channel crossings, says a Tory minister.
It is the only way to stem the tide of migrants on small boats, warns Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.
Wallace wants smugglers and crime mobs to be targeted in order to stop waves of migrants crossing The Channel[/caption]
He told The Sun: “Once they’re off the French beach and halfway across the Channel it’s a very difficult place to be. We’re not going to fix that properly without going right upstream.”
He wants smugglers and crime mobs — often based thousands of miles away — to be targeted.
This year, 40,000 migrants have made the perilous journey.
Half arriving before September were from Albania, Afghanistan, Iran, Eritrea and Egypt.
Mr Wallace said the UK had a similar problem to Italy which was trying to curb illegal migration from north Africa.
His warning comes just weeks after the UK and France set up a taskforce to stop routes into western Europe.
The Royal Navy has been in charge of handling cross-Channel migrant crossings.
But its involvement ends next month.
Ministers are also said to be drafting laws to prevent illegal asylum-seekers settling here.
It comes as Home Secretary Suella Braverman writes in a report out today that it is not xenophobic or anti-immigration to tackle the problem.
The Centre for Policy Studies study wants illegal asylum-seekers sent to Rwanda with which the UK has a deportation deal.
It also demands ministers cap the number who can claim asylum to 20,000 a year.
Immigration minister Robert Jenrick said Albanians faced being barred from claiming asylum.