Nearly 600 Illegal Boat Migrant Crossings of the English Channel Recorded Over the Weekend

AT SEA, ENGLAND - JULY 22: The Border Force arrive to collect occupants of an inflatable craft carrying migrant men, women and children as they cross the shipping lane in the English Channel on July 22, 2021 off the coast of Dover, England. On Monday, 430 migrants crossed the channel …
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Nearly 600 illegal boat migrants attempted to cross the English Channel from France over the weekend, with hundreds successfully reaching British shores on Sunday despite the UK sending millions more to the French to stop the dangerous and illegal trade.

Some 378 illegal aliens were brought ashore by the British Border Force on Sunday in twelve separate boats. French authorities were able to manage to stop 178 boat migrants from reaching the UK in five attempted crossings.

In a statement released on Sunday, Home Secretary Priti Patel said per the BBC: “The British public should be in no doubt of our unwavering determination to stop these dangerous crossings from safe EU countries and take down the evil criminal gangs behind them.

“We are utilising all aspects of government to tackle this issue and our significant actions are having an impact.”

Earlier last week the number of illegal migrants who were recorded to have successfully reached Britain in 2021 surpassed the figure for the entire year of 2020, with five months still left to run. Predictions have forecasted that between twenty and thirty thousand could reach the UK by the end of the year by crossing the English Channel.

People smugglers have reportedly been using larger rubber dinghies to accommodate the increased demand, resulting in a record being set on Monday of 430 migrants landing in just one day.

Prior to the release of Sunday’s figures, Brexit leader Nigel Farage wrote: “Today could set a new record for illegal migrants crossing the Channel. It is out of control. No doubt the Home Secretary will make another tough speech. Priti useless.”

The latest crossings came after the UK agreed to send another £54.2 million to the French to step up border patrols on the French coast to stem the flow of illegal migration. This is on top of the £28 million payoff to France last November.

Even figures in France have questioned the efficacy of the latest handout, with Calais MP Pierre-Henri Dumont saying on Friday: “The fact is that we cannot stop everyone from crossing because there are just too many people and the coastline is too big. So [the British people] are giving more money from their own taxes that’s going to waste.”

The massive increase in illegal immigration across the English Channel has resulted in boat migrants comprising nearly half of all asylum seekers in 2020, with traditional routes for asylum seekers declining during the coronavirus crisis.

Data from the Home Office seen by The Telegraph showed that boat migrants made up between 35 per cent and 44 per cent of all in-country asylum applications during the spring and summer of last year, representing a six-fold increase over the previous year.

Under Home Secretary Priti Patel’s Nationality and Borders Bill, which will come into effect later this year, those who arrive in the country illegally will be prohibited from claiming asylum and possibly face criminal prosecution. However, Patel has yet to come to an agreement with France or indeed the European Union on the return of failed asylum seekers.

Migration Watch UK chairman Alp Mehmet said: “Asylum claims from those who have crossed the Channel illegally to reach the UK can no longer be dismissed as small numbers.

“They are adding significantly to the already wholesale abuse of the asylum system. Moreover, many of those coming this way have failed, some repeatedly, with claims in (safe) countries across Europe. They are not directly fleeing persecution.

“While tackling the abuse has become an urgent necessity, the new legislation is unlikely to make much difference. The flow of dinghies will not stop until those they carry are swiftly returned to the safe countries whence they come.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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