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UK makes 2 arrests in migrant Channel crossings

Published
A Border Force patrol vessel leaves the Port of Dover, in England, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019. Britain's Home Secretary has questioned whether migrants trying to enter England from France by taking small boats across the English Channel are genuine asylum-seekers. (Gareth Fuller/PA via AP)

LONDON (AP) — British officials say two men have been arrested on suspicion of smuggling migrants from France to England by sea.

The National Crime Agency said late Wednesday that a 33-year-old Iranian citizen and a 24-year-old British man were arrested in Manchester.

The men are being questioned but have not been charged or identified. They are suspected of smuggling migrants across the English Channel in small boats.

The arrests are the first since Britain's Home Secretary Sajid Javid declared a rise in migrant crossings to be a "major incident." He is considering asking the Royal Navy to help patrol the Channel.

Javid says about 230 migrants tried to cross the English Channel in December. Officials have blamed the influx on smuggling gangs.

Britain's Home Secretary Sajid Javid, meets Border Force staff on board HMC Searcher, in Dover, England, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019. Javid has questioned whether migrants trying to enter England from France by taking small boats across the English Channel are genuine asylum-seekers. (Gareth Fuller/PA via AP)
Britain's Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes talks to a Border Force officer as a Border Force RIB passes in the harbour, in Dover, England, to discuss recent attempts by migrants to reach Britain by small boats, Saturday Dec. 29, 2018.  Home Secretary Sajid Javid is cutting short a family holiday to help deal with the
Britain's Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes talks to a Border Force officer as a Border Force RIB passes in the harbour, in Dover, England, to discuss recent attempts by migrants to reach Britain by small boats, Saturday Dec. 29, 2018.  Home Secretary Sajid Javid is cutting short a family holiday to help deal with the
Britain's Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes talks to a Border Force officer as a Border Force RIB passes in the harbour, in Dover, England, to discuss recent attempts by migrants to reach Britain by small boats, Saturday Dec. 29, 2018. Home Secretary Sajid Javid is cutting short a family holiday to help deal with the "major incident" of a rising number of migrants attempting to cross the English Channel by boat from northern France. (Victoria Jones/PA via AP)
A Border Force patrol vessel leaves the Port of Dover, in England, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019. Britain's Home Secretary has questioned whether migrants trying to enter England from France by taking small boats across the English Channel are genuine asylum-seekers. (Gareth Fuller/PA via AP)
A Border Force patrol vessel leaves the Port of Dover, in England, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019. Britain's Home Secretary has questioned whether migrants trying to enter England from France by taking small boats across the English Channel are genuine asylum-seekers. (Gareth Fuller/PA via AP)
Britain's Home Secretary Sajid Javid, meets Border Force staff on board HMC Searcher, in Dover, England, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019. Javid has questioned whether migrants trying to enter England from France by taking small boats across the English Channel are genuine asylum-seekers. (Gareth Fuller/PA via AP)
Britain's Home Secretary Sajid Javid, meets Border Force staff on board HMC Searcher, in Dover, England, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019. Javid has questioned whether migrants trying to enter England from France by taking small boats across the English Channel are genuine asylum-seekers. (Gareth Fuller/PA via AP)