About 1,800 migrants were rescued by the Italian Coast Guard this weekend in the Mediterranean Sea.
They are believed to be part of the latest wave of migrants trying to escape violence and poverty in North Africa and the Middle East.
Many have been heading north into Europe, trying to force their way through a tunnel linking France and Britain.
Overnight, migrants by the hundreds stormed the border crossing in France, as word got out that the British were sending reinforcements.
"After two days the government of British will give a soldier (permission) to close the way," said Ibrahim, an Eritrean migrant, said. "If they open the way, we go out this way without pain."
But for some, there was pain, too, as French riot police used pepper spray to hold some migrants at bay.
Refugee Sidique Hussein from Ethiopia made it but bears the scars of failed attempts. "When I catch the train, the train was fast and I fall down and I become like this," he said, pointing to his injury.
But stuck back at the camp in Calais refugees call the "jungle," is seven-month pregnant Samra from Eritrea.
"I'm living in the jungle, on the streets and I don't know where my husband is," she said.
She's convinced Britain has better prospects to start a new life.
"That's the only place I think I can have humanity and human rights for the future of my child," she said.
Back in Britain, the crisis has brought the major crossing to France to a standstill: A 40-mile, 6,000-truck convoy at a dead stop.
"It is beyond a joke," said one driver in the convoy. "You know, we are at a stage where we have got to do the work, we've got to go over."
Pressure has been mounting for days on British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has vowed to take action.
"Starting with helping the French on their side of the border, we're going to put in more fencing, more resources, more sniffer dog teams," Cameron said.
But fencing off more than 5,000 migrants won't make the problem go away, and while the British and French blame each other, both countries have urged the European Union to do more to stop the flow of migrants from North Africa in the first place.
Yet lost in what has become a deeply political problem is the personal suffering of those risking it all in search of a better life.
Having come so far, they're now stuck between a country that want's them out and another that doesn't want to let them in.