Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Record Number of Migrants Cross English Channel in One Day - FARS

Record Number of Migrants Cross English Channel in One Day

(FNA)- More than 430 migrants traveled across the Channel and landed in the UK on Monday, a new record for a single day.

Dozens of men, women and children crossed the sea in small boats throughout the day, including about 50 people who arrived in a dinghy on a beach in Dungeness, Kent, The Independent reported.

The previous record highest number of arrivals was 416, set in September last year.

In total, about 8,000 people have reached the UK via 345 boats throughout 2021.

The Home Office has pledged to crack down on illegal immigration across the Channel, and Home Secretary Priti Patel has introduced legislation to parliament which would criminalise arriving in the UK illegally and allow border officials to send asylum seekers to a “safe third country”.

Most of those crossing the Channel do so in small boats not designed for major sea crossings.

The dinghy which landed in Dungeness is believed to have left Northern France or Belgium early on Monday morning before tackling the dangerous 21-mile Dover Strait.

It was shadowed into Dungeness by a lifeboat, which oversaw the migrants climbing out onto the beach around 1 pm.

Some raised their hands in celebration as they stood on the beach, while others sat down on the shingle shoreline amid 24-degree sunshine.

Dan O’Mahoney, the Home Office official in charge of suppressing Channel crossings, said, "There is an unacceptable rise in dangerous small boat crossings across the channel because of a surge in illegal migration across Europe."

"People should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach and not risk their lives making these dangerous crossings. We are continuing to pursue the criminals behind these illegal crossings," he continued, adding the new Nationality and Borders Bill, currently being debated by MPs, would "protect lives and break this cycle of illegal crossings".

The proposed law would not only make it a criminal offence to enter the UK illegally, even to claim asylum, it would also give powers to the UK’s Border Force to intercept boats in the Channel and forcibly take them back to France.

It would also let the Home Office send asylum seekers overseas while their claims are processed, similar to the controversial offshore polices introduced in Australia in 2013. Rwanda, Ascension Island and Gibraltar have been mooted as potential offshore locations.

The tough new legislation has been widely criticised, including by the UN’s refugee agency which announced the plans would breach Britain’s commitments made in the 1951 Refugee Convention.

Labour has warned the plan would even criminalise the RNLI for trying to save lives in the Channel, while also doing nothing to tackle the people-smuggling gangs who facilitate the crossings.

“The cruel irony of this government’s approach is that it is weak on taking action against criminal gangs – and brutal when it comes to orphaned children from war zones,” Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds noted.

Refugee charities have stressed the punitive new measures were not only “deeply disturbing and morally wrong”, but were also destined to fail and simply gum up the asylum system even further as other European countries would refuse to co-operate with the Home Office’s tough new stance.

But Patel has continued to argue the high numbers of migrants crossing the Channel means reform to the asylum system was necessary, to make the dangerous sea crossing “unviable”.

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