More migrants cross the Channel as the annual total approaches 30,000

More migrants cross the Channel as the annual total approaches 30,000

More than 30,000 people have crossed the English Channel to the UK so far this year, according to government data (Gareth Fuller / PA)

More than 30,000 people have crossed the English Channel to the UK so far this year, according to government data (Gareth Fuller / PA)

More than 30,000 people have crossed the English Channel to the UK so far this year, according to government data.

A total of 667 people and 15 boats were detected on Wednesday, bringing the provisional total for this year to 30,515.

This is higher than the figure for the whole of 2021, when 28,561 crossings were recorded.

Other crossings took place on Thursday, with children and a heavily pregnant woman among the arrivals.

Special tents have been erected in Dover to keep migrants covered while they are being tried as new arrivals appear to overflow from existing facilities.

5,475 crossings have been reported so far this month, including 1,160 on 4 September.

A young family is helped ashore as a group of people believed to be migrants arrive in Dungeness, Kent, after being rescued in the English Channel by the RNLI following a small boat accident on Thursday (Gareth Fuller / PA)

A young family is helped ashore as a group of people believed to be migrants arrive in Dungeness, Kent, after being rescued in the English Channel by the RNLI following a small boat accident on Thursday (Gareth Fuller / PA)

This was just below 1,295 on August 22, which is the highest daily total ever recorded.

More than five months have passed since Interior Minister Priti Patel announced plans to send migrants to Rwanda to try to dissuade people from crossing the Channel.

Since then, 25,247 people have arrived in the UK after making the journey.

On April 14, Ms Patel signed what she described as a “first world agreement” with Rwanda, under which the East African country would take in migrants deemed by the UK to have arrived “illegally” and therefore inadmissible under the new immigration rules.

A severely pregnant woman is helped by police officers as a group of people believed to be migrants walk on the beach at Dungeness, Kent (Gareth Fuller / PA)

A severely pregnant woman is helped by police officers as a group of people believed to be migrants walk on the beach at Dungeness, Kent (Gareth Fuller / PA)

However, the first expulsion flight, scheduled for take-off on June 14, was blocked due to legal disputes.

Several asylum seekers, the Public and Commercial Services Union and the charities Care4Calais, Detention Action and Asylum Aid, are involved in legal proceedings with the Ministry of the Interior while challenging the legality of the policy.

The number of people reaching the UK in small boats from France after sailing on busy routes has steadily increased in recent years.

According to official data, about 299 were detected in 2018, followed by 1,843 in 2019 and 8,466 in 2020.

A group of people believed to be migrants is brought to Dover, Kent, by a Border Force ship (Gareth Fuller / PA)

A group of people believed to be migrants is brought to Dover, Kent, by a Border Force ship (Gareth Fuller / PA)

Despite the growing number, the arrivals of small boats represent a fraction of the number of people traveling to continental Europe.

Figures from the UN refugee agency show that at least 120,441 people arrived in Europe via the Mediterranean by land and sea last year.

The Defense Ministry said its data is taken from “active operating systems” and is subject to change, “including downsizing”.

Further reporting by the Press Association

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