UK: Record number of boat-crossing migrants arrive in Britain on a single day

1,295 people in 27 boats were intercepted

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Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

By Reuters

Published: Tue 23 Aug 2022, 3:17 PM

The number of migrants arriving in Britain in small boats — in a single day — hit a record on Monday, as the rise in dangerous crossings over the English Channel continues, despite the government's plans to deport those arriving illegally to Rwanda.

Britain's Ministry of Defence said 1,295 people in 27 boats were intercepted after making the crossing from the European mainland on Monday. This figure surpasses the previous daily record of 1,185 set last November.

The outgoing prime minister Boris Johnson had hoped that the threat of deporting people to Rwanda — announced in April alongside other efforts, such as handing the navy the responsibility for intercepting migrants — would act as a deterrent to those arriving in dinghies and small boats.

Under an agreement struck in April, Britain would send tens of thousands of illegal migrants who arrive on its shores more than 6,400 km away, to the East African country.

The policy will be the subject of a legal challenge in London's High Court in early September, when a coalition of human rights groups and a trade union will argue that the Rwanda policy is unworkable and unethical.

The first planned deportation flight in June was blocked by a last-minute injunction from the European Court of Human Rights.

"The rise in dangerous Channel crossings is unacceptable," a government spokesperson said.

"Not only are they an overt abuse of our immigration laws, but they also risk the lives of vulnerable people, who are being exploited by ruthless criminal gangs."

In 2021, 28,526 people were detected arriving on small boats — with the highest number from Iran, followed by Iraq, Eritrea, and Syria. So far this year, more than 22,000 migrants have come to Britain, with government officials warning that 60,000 could arrive by the end of the year.

Both candidates vying to replace Johnson as prime minister — Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak — have promised to push ahead with the Rwanda plan.


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