Europe

Channel crossings: Number of migrants making treacherous journey has DOUBLED

Priti Patel says 'broken system' encourages illegal migration

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As of May 16, a total of 3,107 people have made the dangerous trip across the British Channel since January, according to Migrant Watch UK. This is compared to around 1,400 over the same period last year. Earlier this month, nine small boats carrying 209 migrants crossed – the highest number in a single day this year.

It has raised questions about Priti Patel’s overhaul plans for the asylum seeker system, published in March.

The Home Secretary’s planned to make the crossing “unviable”, and told the House of Commons “enough is enough”.

The plans would see illegal immigrants returned to safer states such as “France and other EU countries”, but many of these nations are understood to have rejected them.

Officials believe that the rise in small boat crossings is partly caused by a drop in lorry traffic crossing the Channel from French ports.

Speaking to The Independent, Nick Thomas-Symonds, the shadow home secretary, said: “This dire situation exposes the reality behind the rhetoric from the Government: a refusal to reopen safe routes or keep to their promises of helping unaccompanied children stranded overseas.”

Nigel Farage has also been critical, forecasting 20,000 migrants will make the crossing in 2021.

He said: “Let me tell you that, to date, the number that have come illegally across the English, at least the number we know of, is now approaching 3,000.

“I said this time last year that 5,000 people might come throughout 2020. I was wrong. Completely wrong.

“The figure was 8,500 and I’m telling you on the current projections this year it is going to be 20,000 people.”

In April, Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay summarised the numbers, describing the situation as “getting worse”.

Speaking on talkRADIO, Mr Mackinlay said: “Let’s just look at the figures. Last year we had 8,500 incursions through dinghies coming across the channel.

“That was four times as much as in 2019 and the figures just today [April 3] are 1,300 until the end of March compared to the same period last year of 466.

“So last year was four times as many as the year before and it seems this year we’re close to three times.”

He added: “We cannot continue with this chaotic situation.”

The immigration plans state: “Contingent on securing returns agreements, we will seek to rapidly return inadmissible asylum seekers to the safe country of most recent embarkation.”

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France, Belgium, Germany, Sweden and many others have all indicated they will not sign up to the scheme.

In her latest move to secure the country, Priti Patel is set to announce a “fully digital” border on Monday.

The Government has said the digital border will make it “easier to navigate for businesses whilst allowing… for the first time to accurately count people in and out of the UK.”

Ms Patel said: “Now we have taken back control and ended free movement, security is at the very heart of our immigration strategy.

“Our new fully digital border will provide the ability to count people in and out of the country, giving us control over who comes to the UK.”

Ms Patel added that the new border controls will make it easier to identify “potential threats” before they reach the border.

Around 700 foreign criminals have been removed from the UK so far this year, with more than 140 being deported in the past 10 days.

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