Migrant boat crossings to UK hits new record

Since the start of January, 105 boats have been detected making the crossing, with an average of more than 47 people on each craft…reports Asian Lite News

Almost 5,000 people have arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel in small boats so far this year, according to government figures.

The Home Office data shows 349 people attempted the journey in seven boats on Saturday, taking the total number of arrivals to 4,993 since the start of 2024 – a record high for this time of year. The previous record over an equivalent period was 4,548 in 2022.

Since the start of January, 105 boats have been detected making the crossing, with an average of more than 47 people on each craft.

Rishi Sunak’s government has pledged to “stop the boats” and it wants to send those who arrive on small boats to Rwanda. The approach has been met with fierce resistance inside and outside parliament, and the House of Lords has repeatedly stymied proposed legislation. The measures be considered once more when MPs return from parliament’s Easter recess on 15 April.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The unacceptable number of people who continue to cross the Channel demonstrates exactly why we must get flights to Rwanda off the ground as soon as possible. We continue to work closely with French police, who are facing increasing violence and disruption on their beaches as they work tirelessly to prevent these dangerous, illegal and unnecessary journeys. We remain committed to building on the successes that saw arrivals drop by more than a third last year, including tougher legislation and agreements with international partners, in order to save lives and stop the boats.”

The shadow immigration minister, Stephen Kinnock, said: “A year which started with Rishi Sunak and James Cleverly boasting about the success of their small boats strategy is now setting one unwanted record after another for the number of arrivals. Their complacency has been laid bare and their pledge to stop the boats has been left in tatters. We can also see from these figures that there is a major tragedy waiting to happen in the Channel. Poor-quality, overcrowded dinghies are putting to sea and getting into trouble early in their journeys, while the smuggling gangs responsible are left to count their profits.”

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