But he resisted calls to deploy more cutters to the Channel, saying he was keeping the number of vessels available to the Border Force "under close review".
Almost 70 people have been intercepted in the past three days as they try to reach England by crossing one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.
"They have not got a grip on it".
But Mr Javid faced accusations of over-egging the scale of the problem, with shadow home secretary Diane Abbott telling the Guardian: "There's no question that with Brexit, and also with the approach of the meaningful vote in January, people are being whipped up about migration issues, because the Government thinks this is the best way of frightening people to vote for their deal".
There has been a recent spike in attempts to from the Channel from France.
"It's time to bring back our boats before there is a tragedy in the English Channel", he said.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has said the UK's armed forces "stand ready" if needed to prevent further crossings.
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The men made the trip in an inflatable boat with a rigid hull on December 30, landing in Kingsdown, according to the British Home Office.
It comes after more than forty migrants were picked up on Christmas day.
The number of British citizens applying for Irish passports rose by 22 percent in 2018, Ireland's foreign office said on Monday, more than doubling the total of annual applications since Britain voted to leave the European Union.
He has appointed a commander to oversee the response to the incidents and asked for daily updates.
Only one of the Border Force's fleet of five cutters - specialist boats which the force describes as being capable of rescuing several migrant boats at the same time - is now operational in the Dover Strait.
"It is vital we strike a balance between protecting them and protecting our borders, ensuring we do not encourage more people to make this risky journey".
Chris Hogben, from the NCA, said its work with French colleagues had resulted in dozens of attempted crossings being prevented.
He said: "The reasons behind the increased crossings are complicated and in many cases outside of our control".
"They are around and about in the camps, they are in the cafes in Calais".