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05th Aug 2021

English Channel crossings pass 10,000 after new daily record reached

Kieran Galpin


The milestone was reached after 482 people crossed in a single day

More than 10,000 immigrants have illegally crossed the English Channel, the Home Office has confirmed.

The milestone was surpassed Wednesday when 482 people crossed the waters in roughly 21 boats.

There have been 10,236 arrivals in 434 boats so far this year, the Home Office said, with Wednesday being the biggest day ever.

“These dangerous small boat crossings, facilitated by criminal gangs, are putting lives at risk, Dan O’Mahoney, clandestine Channel threat commander, told the BBC.

“These numbers are unacceptable, that’s why we are taking action on all fronts.”

O’Mahoney said law enforcement agencies were “dismantling” the people-smuggling gangs responsible and noted that joint work with French authorities had resulted in a doubling of police officers on French beaches.

Steve Valdez-Symonds, Refugee and Migrant Rights Director at Amnesty International UK, said there simply isn’t “safe alternatives” for people putting themselves at risk by crossing the Channel.

He urged politicians to stop “peddling myths and stoking hostility toward often vulnerable people who’ve experienced persecution and trauma”, noting that on a global scale, very few people seek asylum in the UK.

Nigel Farage has continued to inflame fears around Channel crossings. Recent criticism led to The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) receiving a surge in donations. On Thursday, the former MP warned, “this will get much worse”, and shared a clip from GB News where he claimed 20,000 people would cross the Channel this year, 30,000 if the waters are calm in September.

Despite the Home Office saying it takes the welfare of migrants seriously, it was reported last week that women with babies and very young children were among 56 migrants being held in a cramped room covered with thin mattresses at a unit in Dover.

Home Secretary Priti Patel recently deported people back to Vietnam in a new immigration crackdown.

“I make no apology for removing criminals who are trying to cheat our asylum system, overstay their welcome or fuel crime in our communities. This flight removed serious foreign criminals involved in producing and supplying lethal drugs.

“These offenders will no longer be able to poison our communities, ruin lives and cash in on vulnerable people and the British people should know I will continue to do everything in my power to remove such appalling criminals from our country.”

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