The shame of the St Louis, now memorialized in holocaust museums around the world, is a timely reminder. Since the beginning of this year some 340,000 people have piled into boats or trekked overland to reach Europe. They have been called a "swarm", "marauders" and "cockroaches". By August, more than 2,000 had drowned crossing the Mediterranean.
There is a deadly humanitarian crisis on our doorstep, and our current approach is compounding the problem. If the people in The Jungle were white Europeans, I have no doubt that we do everything possible to help them. Instead, we allow desperate people to exist in appalling conditions, and build fences to ensure they stay there. If I were a more courageous man, I would have brought someone back with me.
Today is about action, not just words - it is World Humanitarian Day. It is not a celebration. It is a much-needed recognition of those "who face danger and adversity in order to help others," a clear signal that there IS good in the world and a message to millions that life is precious. And what better way to recognise those who help others in the most dire circumstances than to announce we will give priority to new and better international support so humanitarians can carry out their mission to provide every child with opportunity in some of the most trying circumstances.
I've been thinking all day about how I can find the words for what we experienced last week. An hours drive from my house, then half an hour on the Eurotunnel, and we were in the world's worst refugee camp in terms of resources and conditions, yet we were welcomed with open arms. It's amazing how only the people who have nothing really know how to share.
The nearly a quarter of a million people who have arrived in Europe this year represent a massive headache for the authorities in both Italy and Greece, who are desperate for more help from their EU partners... The real scandal is not how many people are huddled in Calais hoping to get to the UK, but how few we are allowing in.
A Calais summit at European level is urgent. It should provide solutions to the migrants crisis while at the same time securing the tunnel to ensure that Calais and Dover are open for business as usual... The problem of Calais is not just a Franco-British question, it is a problem for the whole of Europe and the developing world. But the French and the English are on the frontline.
Time and again, we have said that once these migrants and refugees reach Calais, it is already too late. Anecdotal evidence suggests that migrants are usually in the town for an average of only three months, with 70% of the camps empty by the end of that time. In many cases, this is because they have been successful in entering the UK.
It's now more than two months since the election. For those of us working with refugees, it's been a worrying time. Some of the initial policy decisions made by new Ministers will lead to considerable hardship amongst both newly arrived asylum seekers as well as those that have been in the UK longer. Our task is not made any easier by some of our newspapers. We've already read enough tabloid myths about asylum seekers to last into the next Parliament. Nonetheless, five years is a long time - in politics and, as many refugees will tell you, in life.