At least 200 migrants are picked up in Channel as crossings resume

At least 200 migrants are picked up in Channel in small boats as crossings resume for first time this week: Babies and children arrive in Dover after 8,644 made journey on 189 boats last month – taking yearly total to 25,000

  • At least 200 migrants were intercepted after crossing Channel in small boats 
  • Babies and young children were among those seen arriving into Dover today 
  • Comes after August saw highest monthly total of crossings on record 

At least 200 migrants including a baby wearing a life vest were intercepted today as the first small boat crossings of September began following a record-breaking August.

Journeys into Dover resumed amid calmer weather on Friday afternoon after there had been a five-day pause in crossings due to breezy conditions at sea.

Around 30 people were brought in on Border Force’s vessel Ranger by lunchtime, before around 190 migrants were further helped ashore on board the larger catamaran Typhoon on Friday afternoon.

Several groups of men, young children being carried up the gangway and another young boy wrapped in a blanket were among those spotted being brought in for processing on Friday.

It comes after August saw the highest monthly total on record for crossings after thousands of sylum seekers made the treacherous journey across the English Channel over the 31-day period. 

More migrants arrived across the Channel in August than in the whole of 2020, with final figures for the month showing 8,644 people reached Britain in small boats from northern France, compared with 8,410 in all of 2020. 

August 22 saw the highest daily total on record, with 1,295 people crossing in 27 boats. Journeys were made across all but 10 days of the month due to good weather.

At least 200 migrants, including a baby wearing a life vest, were intercepted by Border Force officers in Dover today as small boat crossings resumed after a five-day hiatus

Journeys into Dover resumed amid calmer weather on Friday afternoon after there had been a five-day pause in crossings due to breezy conditions at sea

Several groups of men, young children being carried up the gangway and another young boy wrapped in a blanket were among those spotted being brought in for processing on Friday

More migrants arrived across the Channel in August than in the whole of 2020, with final figures for the month showing 8,644 people reached Britain in small boats from northern France , compared with 8,410 in all of 2020

This summer’s huge increase has been driven by large numbers of Albanian migrants making the treacherous journey aboard sub-standard dinghies and rigid inflatables.

Home Office officials have said more than 6,000 Albanians have arrived so far this year, compared with less than 900 in the previous three years combined.

One immigration expert said the numbers of arrivals in the last few weeks have been ‘absolutely unprecedented’ both in terms of those coming in any one day but also the number now being crammed into any one boat.

Lucy Moreton, head of the Immigration Service Union, which represents UK Border Force staff, said today that the lower price shows that it is a ‘very well established, almost commercial route of entry into the UK now’.

August saw the highest monthly total since current records began in 2018. Previously the monthly record stood at 6,971 following crossings in November 2021.

More than 25,000 people have made the crossing in 2022 so far, according to official Home Office figures and provisional data collected by the Ministry of Defence.

28,526 people crossed the English Channel in small boats in 2021 – compared to 8,410 who arrived in 2020, according to government figures. 

Two women and a young man, all wearing face coverings and life jackets, are seen disembarking a Border Force vessel in Dover, Kent on Friday

One immigration expert said the numbers of arrivals in the last few weeks have been ‘absolutely unprecedented’ both in terms of those coming in any one day but also the number now being crammed into any one boat

This summer’s huge increase has been driven by large numbers of Albanian migrants making the treacherous journey aboard sub-standard dinghies and rigid inflatables. Pictured: Asylum seekers in Dover, Kent on Friday

Natalie Elphicke MP for Dover said: ‘France have a moral and international obligation to protect vulnerable people, save lives, stop people smugglers and tackle organised crime. They should not need to be paid to do their duty.

‘It is even more ridiculous that we pay them tens of millions of pounds and get so little in return. This is a shocking waste of taxpayers’ hard-earned money.

‘Sorting out the small boats crisis must be a key priority of the next Prime Minister.’

It comes as the Home Office said it had appointed an independent panel to oversee the plan to send migrants to Rwanda. 

It is more than four months since Home Secretary Priti Patel unveiled the Rwanda policy in a bid to deter people from crossing the Channel.

Since then, 19,775 people have arrived in the UK after making the trip.

On April 14, Ms Patel signed what she described as a ‘world-first’ agreement with Rwanda, but the first deportation flight – due to take off on June 14 – was grounded amid legal challenges.

Several asylum seekers, the Public and Commercial Services union and charities Care4Calais, Detention Action and Asylum Aid are challenging the legality of the Home Office policy, with the next court hearings due to take place from Monday.

Campaigners have also called on the Government to abandon the plan and free those awaiting removal from detention.

Around 30 people were brought in on Border Force’s vessel Ranger by lunchtime, before around 190 migrants were further helped ashore on board the larger catamaran Typhoon (pictured) on Friday afternoon

A group of men are brought ashore in Dover, Kent on Friday as the first small boat incidents of September were recorded

Medical Justice said torture and trafficking victims are among those told they could be sent to the east African nation, according to assessments by its doctors.

The charity argued the health and wellbeing of the detainees have been ‘severely’ affected by the policy and, for some, it has ‘increased their risk of self-harm and suicide’.

The Home Office has insisted ‘no-one will be relocated if it is unsafe or inappropriate for them, and our thorough assessment of Rwanda has found that it is a fundamentally safe and secure country, with a track record of supporting asylum seekers’.

Eight ‘experts’ in areas including human rights and asylum will sit on the panel to scrutinise the so-called Migration and Economic Development Partnership between the UK and Rwanda, the government department said.

They include former Australian immigration minister Alexander Downer, Marie Sylvie Kawera, who has been leading Rwanda’s National Commission for Human Rights since 2017, and top lawyer Harish Salve QC.

The group will be responsible for ‘reviewing and reporting on the delivery of the partnership’ and monitoring the operation, with Ms Patel saying they will play a ‘key role in holding both Governments to account’.

Vincent Biruta, the Rwandan minister for foreign affairs and international co-operation, said the monitoring committee members were ‘experienced and highly committed individuals who will ensure that the programme is delivered to high standards’.

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