More than 25,000 migrants have crossed Channel this year, latest figures reveal | Politics News
More than 25,000 migrants have crossed the English Channel this year, latest Home Office statistics have revealed.
The figures showed the total number of people making the dangerous journey from France hit 25,146 on Saturday after a further 19 small boats crossed the water with 915 people on board.
It also brought the monthly total so far to 8,747, with a record-breaking 1,295 arriving in one day on 22nd August.
The numbers are continuing to rise despite the government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, which it claimed would deter people from making the crossing.
They have yet to deport anyone after legal challenges to the policy grounded its first flight in June, and critics of the scheme continue to battle against it in the courts.
Legal papers revealed Home Secretary Priti Patel had been warned against the move, with one Foreign Office worker saying torture and “even killings” are accepted in the country.
The UK high commissioner to Rwanda in 2021 also warned that the country “has been accused of recruiting refugees to conduct armed operations in neighbouring countries”.
But Ms Patel has continued to defend the policy, insisting the country is “safe”, and both Tory leadership candidates have said they would keep the scheme if they become the next prime minister.
Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Our immigration system is broken and we have to be honest about that. Whether you believe that migration should be high or low, we can all agree that it should be legal and controlled.
“Right now the system is chaotic, with law-abiding citizens seeing boats full of illegal immigrants coming from the safe country of France with our sailors and coastguards seemingly powerless to stop them. It must stop and if I am prime minister I will stop it.”
A full hearing is scheduled to take place next month on whether the Rwanda plan is lawful or not.
Smuggler says dangerous crossings will continue
The numbers of migrants crossing the Channel has risen dramatically in the last four years – going from 299 in 2018 to 1,843 in 2019, 8,466 in 2020 and 28,526 last year, official figures show.
But the figure still remains a fraction of the number of people going to mainland Europe, with United Nations data showing at least 120,441 people arrived in Europe via the Mediterranean by land and sea last in 2021.
A government spokesperson said: “The rise in these dangerous crossings is unacceptable. Not only are they an overt abuse of our immigration laws but they risk the lives of vulnerable people.
“Anyone travelling through safe countries to reach the UK should claim asylum there instead of giving money to criminal gangs with no regard for their lives. Under our Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda, those who enter via illegal routes such as the Channel will be in scope to be relocated there to have their claims considered.
“Our new Nationality and Borders Act is breaking these evil criminal’s business model, through tougher sentences for those who facilitate illegal entry into the country, with 44 people already arrested since it became law.”