Migrant latest: More than 600 people cross English Channel as total for year exceeds 32K


Over 600 people arrived in small boats across the English Channel on Friday, bringing the total to more than 32,000 so far this year. Another 656 people crossed the English Channel in small boats yesterday, according to Government figures.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed 15 boats were also intercepted on the same day. It is the 12th time the daily toll has reached more than 600 people and brings the yearly total up to 32,321. The annual total hit more than 30,000 earlier this week, beating the 28,561 crossings recorded last year.

More than 1,000 people crossed the English Channel in small boats the day after the total for the year exceeded 30,000, Government figures show. The MoD has been approached for comment.

Refugee Council Chief Executive Enver Solomon said: “With record numbers of people crossing the channel this year, we are seeing how the Government’s policies enshrined in the recent Nationality and Borders Act and the Rwanda deal are doing absolutely nothing to deter desperate people jumping on boats because they do nothing to address the reasons people come.

 

“Let’s not forget the men, women and children coming across the Channel are fleeing atrocities like those in Ukraine and Afghanistan. No one risks their own, or family’s life, unless they are running from dangers more acute than they face on these journeys.  Criminalising them and treating them as human cargo to be sent to Rwanda is not the way forward. Such policies were always destined to fail, cause even more pain and suffering and at a huge cost to the public purse.

“We need to immediately start having a grown-up conversation with France and the EU about sharing responsibility. We need a fair and humane asylum system, with means well thought-out, long-term solutions that address why people are forced from their homes and provides them with safe routes to the UK.”

Sixty-five people had to be rescued from a drifting boat, according to the Maritime Prefecture of the Channel and North Sea.

They were disembarked at the port of Boulogne-sur-Mer where they were taken care of by French Border Police and the emergency services.

Maritime Prefecture of the Channel and North Sea issued a warning of the risks involved to anyone planning to cross the waterway.

It read: “This maritime sector is one of the busiest areas in the world, with more than 400 merchant ships passing through it per day and the weather conditions are often difficult… it is therefore a particularly dangerous sector, especially at a time when the water temperature will decrease.”

News of the latest crossing numbers comes after Prime Minister Liz Truss met French President Emmanuel Macron.

Ms Truss did not discuss unauthorised migrant crossings of the Channel during her meeting.

Downing Street said the PM had a “constructive” conversation lasting around half-an-hour, but it focused on energy security.

The pair held their first bilateral meeting at the fringes of the United Nations summit in New York.

Ahead of her meeting with Mr Macron, Ms Truss stressed tackling migrant crossings in small boats was one of the issues Britain and France must work together on.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the stalled Rwanda policy is the “long term solution” to crossings after confirming Ms Truss and Mr Macron did not discuss the issue.



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