• Tuesday, April 16, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Illegal Channel crossings reach new single-day record; favourable weather likely reason

1,295 migrants travelled from France to the UK in 27 small boats, surpassing the previous 24-hour record of 1,185

About 40 migrants, from various origins, hold an inflatable boat before attempting to cross the Channel illegally to Britain, near the northern French city of Gravelines on July 11, 2022. (Photo by DENIS CHARLET/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

The number of migrants crossing the English Channel to British shores reached a record single-day high this week bringing the spotlight back on the UK’s deportation plans.

The Ministry of Defence said 1,295 migrants crossed the Channel from northern France in 27 small boats on Monday, surpassing the previous 24-hour record of 1,185 registered on November 11 last year.

There would be a usual surge in the number of crossings during summers but Monday’s record was attributed to favourable weather conditions.

With this, the number of migrants making dangerous journeys along the busy shipping route reached 6,273 in August so far, the second highest for a month after last November’s figure of 6,878.

The illegal movement of migrants across the Channel has been a bone of contention between the UK and France as they have blamed each other for not doing enough to check the crossings.

Some 22,670 people illegally crossed the Channel this year, bringing the number closer to the full-year figure of 28,526 recorded in 2021.

According to a Home Office estimate, 60,000 to 65,000 migrants could arrive in the UK by the sea route by the end of the calendar year – more than double the 28,526 who crossed last year.

Lucy Moreton, a professional officer with the ISU union, said the migrants crossing the Channel were mainly Albanians and noted that security staff were facing increasing violence.

“That tends to go with the nationalities,” she told The Telegraph.

“There are a lot of young males. A lot of prison tattoos and prison haircuts. I have had two staff attacked in the last week and three bitten, bruised but no skin broken,” Moreton said.

Britain inked a deal with Rwanda in April this year, under which tens of thousands of migrants who arrived on UK shores illegally would be sent to the east African country.

However, the first planned deportation flight in June was blocked by a last-minute intervention by the European Court of Human Rights.

A legal challenge to the Rwanda policy brought by human rights groups will be heard by London’s High Court next month.

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