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More than 1,000 migrants arrive in UK in 10 days after Channel crossings

UK News | Published:

At least 4,500 have now arrived in the country this year.

More than 1,000 migrants arrived in the UK in 10 days after crossing the Channel in small boats.

According to analysis by the PA news agency, 1,004 migrants were brought ashore by Border Force between August 4 and 13.

This takes the total so far this year to at least 4,511, more than double the amount thought to have crossed during the whole of 2019.

On Saturday the Home Office confirmed that on Thursday 89 migrants who made the crossing in five boats were brought to the UK, as well as 48 who arrived in four boats on Friday.

The news comes after immigration minister Chris Philp promised a “new, comprehensive action plan” to stem the latest surge in crossings after talks with French officials in Paris on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) responded to the Home Office’s formal request for help by sending in RAF planes.

Three have been sent up into the skies above the Channel this week so far to carry out surveillance and help the coastguard and Border Force spot emerging crossing attempts.

Migrant Channel crossing incidents
Boats were being brought to shore in Dover, Kent (Gareth Fuller/PA)

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The MoD confirmed on Saturday the Poseidon and Shadow aircraft would continue to provide support in the coming weeks, subject to weather conditions, while a specialist Royal Navy team will help Border Force with the logistics of daily operations.

It comes after Calais mayor Natacha Bouchart described sending in the navy to French broadcasters as a “declaration of maritime war”.

Home Secretary Priti Patel last year pledged that the migrant crossings would be an “infrequent phenomenon” by now and has since insisted she is working to make the route “completely unviable”.

Earlier this week she reportedly told Tory MPs the asylum system was “broken” as she promised to bring forward legal reforms while she claimed laws were being exploited by “leftie Labour-supporting lawyers” who were trying to frustrate Government efforts to deport people.

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But human rights campaigners and lawyers hit back at the comments, saying they were simply doing their job upholding the rule of law.

Charities have repeatedly insisted that efforts by the Government to provide those seeking asylum of a safe and legal route of doing so before boarding a boat on the Channel would stop the crossings in their tracks.

Bella Sankey, director of Detention Action, accused Ms Patel of “playing politics with people’s lives” as the crossings continue, particularly as many boats include several children some of whom are too young to walk.

She said: “The mishandling of this situation continues and now the Home Secretary is nakedly playing politics with people’s lives and the UK’s proud tradition of providing refugee protection.

“This cruel political strategy is divisive, dangerous and unnecessary – Government needs to do better.”

Migrant Channel crossing incidents
Children are among those making the dangerous crossing (Gareth Fuller/PA)

“But her diagnosis is profoundly wrong.

“Knee jerk attacks on the principle of asylum or the rule of law are unbecoming of this or any government.

“Britain is better than this.

“Our Government needs to deliver on this.

“Britain must make a fair and constructive contribution to the global refugee crisis.”

Dan O’Mahoney, the Home Office’s newly appointed clandestine Channel threat commander, reiterated warnings the crossings were “dangerous and unnecessary”, adding: “I have already met the French and reaffirmed our joint commitment to stopping these crossings and making this route totally unviable.

“I will continue to work with the French to tackle the criminals behind the crossings and the organised crime networks which put people’s lives at risk.

“Twenty-three people smugglers have been jailed this year and two more were charged in recent weeks.”

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