Illegal migrants sent back to France after crossing the Channel and entering the UK are trying “come over again”, MPs have been told.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said she wanted boats packed with migrants “intercepted at sea” and escorted back to the EU.
She told the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee: “We have got to try and break this route.”
She added: “Individuals we have returned back to France – they have tried to come over again,”
The Cabinet Minister admitted the Government has a “major, major problem with these small boats”.
It comes after an increase in activity in the Channel.
At least 180 migrants were able to cross the English Channel to the UK on Sunday – a new single-day record.
They were among more than 380 migrants who attempted the crossing on Sunday, the Home Office confirmed on Monday morning.
More than 200 migrants were intercepted by French authorities and prevented from reaching the UK.
While a huge search and rescue operation was launched in the Channel to deal with “a number of incidents” off the UK coast, the Home Secretary was in Calais for talks with her newly appointed French counterpart.
At the weekend Ms Patel and French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin agreed to create a Franco-British intelligence cell to tackle the issue.
Ms Patel told the committee there was no reason for migrants to leave safe EU countries to come to Britain.
“France is a safe country, Germany is a safe country, Italy is a safe country – people should be claiming asylum there,” she added.
Ms Patel also told MPs compliance with coronavirus quarantine measures by people travelling in and out of the UK has been “incredibly high”.
She told the Commons Home Affairs Committee 383,000 spot checks were carried out between June 6 and July 12 and the compliance rate was 99.9%.
The majority of the checks were carried out at the border, she said.
Shona Dunn, second permanent secretary to the Home Office, said as of last week around 20% of those were follow-up checks on people who have come into the country.
They were carried out by Public Health England.