The number of clandestine crossings, multiplied by three in 2021, could hit a new record this year.
More than 250 migrants were seen aboard seven makeshift boats as they crossed the English Channel to the UK on Sunday, the British Ministry of Defense said on Monday (May 2).
The number of clandestine crossings, multiplied by three in 2021, could hit a new record this year. It is the first time in 11 days that the British government – which updates data on these illegal crossings on a daily basis – has reported boats in the English Channel that were marked by high winds and seas at the end of April.
7000 migrants since the beginning of the year
The British Navy, which has been responsible for monitoring illegal crossings in the English Channel since mid-April with the aim of better detecting them, reported 254 people crossing aboard seven boats on Sunday. Images published in British media show migrants continuing to arrive in Dover on Monday. In all, nearly 7,000 people have reached Britain’s coast by crossing the Channel aboard makeshift boats since the start of the year, according to a PA agency count. That is three times more than the balance last year in the same period.
Reform of the asylum law to return illegal migrants
While Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made the fight against illegal immigration his priority after Brexit, the number of crossings has continued to increase, with a threefold increase in 2021, a year marked by the deaths of 27 migrants in a shipwreck in late November.
More than 28,500 people made this dangerous crossing in 2021, compared to 8,466 in 2020, 1,843 in 2019 and 299 in 2018, the interior ministry said. To discourage border crossings, the government last week enacted a controversial reform of asylum law, which notably provides for the sending of illegally arrived asylum seekers to Rwanda to Rwanda while they apply for asylum.
The new law has been fiercely criticized by international and refugee aid organizations. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on Wednesday deplored a text that “undermines established international laws and practices for the protection of refugees†
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