Sajid Javid faced a furious backlash today for 'normalising anti-refugee rhetoric' after he suggested migrants trying to cross the Channel in small boats are not 'genuine' asylum seekers.
The Home Secretary vowed to do everything necessary to stop people attempting the perilous crossing after a surge over the past three months.
Mr Javid said Britain would also try to block asylum requests wherever possible in a bid to try and break the link between people getting here and being allowed to stay.
He warned those who tried to leave France and get to Britain illegally may not be real refugees because they were already 'perfectly safe in France'.
Labour MP Stella Creasy said the threats were 'utterly disgusting' while Liberal Democrat Ed Davey accused the Home Secretary of being 'nasty'.
Before Mr Javid spoke out Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn insisted today that Europe cannot 'close its borders' as he spoke about the migrant crisis facing the continent.
Sajid Javid visited Dover today (pictured aboard HMC Searcher) to meet Border Force officers policing the Channel for people trying to cross from France.
The Home Secretary, who cut short a family holiday to deal with the growing crisis, met Border Force officials in Dover today
Mr Javid visited Dover today to meet Border Force staff patrolling the Channel following a surge in the number of people trying to get into Britain in small boats.
He boarded the HMC Searcher, one of the cutters tasked with patrolling the south coast, for a briefing from crews on the lookout for migrants.
The Border Force has five cutters in total, with HMC Vigilant and HMC Searcher currently in the Channel.
Earlier this week Mr Javid changed his position and announced that two cutters in the Mediterranean - HMC Valiant and Protector - would be redeployed to the south coast. HMC Seeker which is in Gibraltar.
Mr Javid cut short a family holiday in South Africa over Christmas to deal with the growing crisis after declaring it to be a 'major incident'.
Speaking in Dover today, Mr Javid said: 'A question has to be asked: if you are a genuine asylum seeker why have you not sought asylum in the first safe country that you arrived in?
'Because France is not a country where anyone would argue it is not safe in anyway whatsoever, and if you are genuine then why not seek asylum in your first safe country?'
Mr Javid said there had been a 'step change' in attempts to cross the Channel in the past three months and vowed to do everything necessary to both protect life and deter illegal journeys in the first place.
While admitting everyone who does reach the UK will be processed in the normal way, Mr Javid said: 'We will do everything we can to make sure you are not successful because we need to break that link.'
The Home Secretary said in a recent case a nine year old boy was on a boat making the 'incredibly dangerous' journey.
He warned: 'Please do not do that'.
Labour MP Stella Creasy said the threats were 'utterly disgusting' as she lashed Mr Javid's response to migrants crossing the Channel
Ms Creasy said: 'Utterly disgusting from Sajid Javid as he normalises anti refugee rhetoric online.
'The asylum system in France is completely deadlocked and I fear deliberately so - they should be challenged on that.
'But none of that means Britain can absolve itself of responsibility to refugees.'
She added: 'People will continue to die and be at mercy of traffickers all the time politicians pretend to play tough for votes rather than recognise why people flee. Be a voice for humanity.
'Be a voice for treating people fairly. Be a voice for safe passage. Be a voice against the hate.'
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman Mr Davey said: 'The Home Secretary's comments about refugees crossing the Channel show that the