More than 7,400 migrants have made dangerous Channel dash to reach UK in 2021 so far


More than 7,400 migrants have made the dangerous Channel dash to reach the UK by small boat so far this year, with 825 arriving in the last three days alone, according to official figures.

The total number of migrants to have been detained by Border Force so far this year has reached 7,478, less than 1,000 short of the 8,410 who arrived last year. But the number is expected to rise with more warm weather forecast in the days and weeks ahead which will make crossings easier.

On Sunday 346 people were detained by Border Force Officers in 15 inflatables and ribs – the largest number to arrive in a single day so far this year. And on Monday a further 254 migrants were picked up in nine separate incidents.

A further 225 people were detained on Saturday. It takes the number of migrants detained by Border Force so far in July to 1,572. In 2019 there were 1,850 migrants who arrived on UK shores by small boat.

Among the arrivals on Monday was a young girl wearing a pink rain jacket over her life jacket. A woman, believed to be her mother, had her arm around her as they were brought into Dover Marina, Kent on a Border Force vessel.

She was sat next to a young boy who was holding the hand of a man wearing a face mask – believed to be his dad. Another younger girl aged around three with her hair tied up in a pink bow was also on board with around 20 migrants shortly before 12pm. 

A group of migrants are brought into harbour on the beach at Dungeness, along the coast of Kent, by the Border Force officials

Migrants, including children and toddlers, were arrived to Dover Marina in Kent after crossing the English Channel

Migrants, including children and toddlers, were arrived to Dover Marina in Kent after crossing the English Channel

Migrants in life jackets are assisted by Border Force officers as they arrive to Dover Marina

Migrants in life jackets are assisted by Border Force officers as they arrive to Dover Marina

Migrant boat crisis is hitting Tory support in Red Wall seats, Boris Johnson is warned 

Boris Johnson has been warned that the failure to tackle the migrant boats crisis is hitting Tory support in Red Wall seats won by the Conservatives at the last Election.

An MP representing one of the constituencies gained from Labour by the Tories told The Mail on Sunday that the issue was ‘starting to hit support’.

In response to the crisis, the Government proposed a Nationality and Borders Bill in Parliament last week that will allow Border Force officials to use ‘reasonable force’ to detain would-be asylum seekers at sea and return vessels in the Channel back to safe countries.

But the power to send boats back to France – where most migrant boats are launched – will require an agreement with the French, and talks on a deal have broken down.

After the Bill was unveiled, the Crown Prosecution Service created a further headache by advising its lawyers not to prosecute migrants entering the country illegally.

It told prosecutors to stop charging passengers arriving in small boats or lorries, claiming they were typically victims of exploitation or had no choice in how they travelled.

It caused consternation among some Tory MPs who warned it represented a ‘new low’ for the CPS as the issue of illegal immigration continued to dent party support.

The MP said: ‘In the past few weeks it has become noticeable how much it is coming up on the doorstep, and Boris is being personally associated with it. That and Matt Hancock’s resignation are the issues which are really cutting through with voters.’

Around 50 migrants also successfully landed on the beach at Dungeness, Kent and were detained by Border Force with the assistance of police officers. A RNLI lifeboat crew was also in attendance.

They followed a group of around 20 men, mainly appearing to be aged in their 20s and Vietnamese, who were brought into harbour by Border Force cutter Speedwell around 10.30am.

It proved to be a long day for Border Force who used their latest vessel, named Hurricane, to bring in approximately 40 migrants around 2.30pm.

Around 10 boats are thought to have attempted the treacherous trip across the world’s busiest shipping route on Monday as the number of vessels left eerily floating at the harbour in Dover continues to rise.

It follows a dramatic rescue on Sunday after two people fell off a rigid hulled inflatable boat and into the freezing cold sea. An RNLI inshore lifeboat had to be launch to save them. Fortunately they were both wearing lifejackets.

The voluntary crew of the Ramsgate lifeboat towed the drifting rib, packed with around 20 migrants, into Ramsgate harbour in Kent where Border Force officers were waiting for them.

An RNLI spokesman said: ‘The Ramsgate inshore lifeboat launched at 10.10am this morning following reports that there were two people in the water. Two people, who were wearing lifejackets, were rescued from the water and the rib, from which the casualties had fallen, was towed into Ramsgate and the relevant authorities informed.’

In another incident, pictures posted on social media showed around 15-20 migrants apparently coming ashore near Folkestone, Kent after arriving on an inflatable.

Another 404 were stopped from trying to make the dangerous 21-mile crossing by French authorities in the same three day period.

On Saturday, a Border Force officer was seen carefully carrying a baby in his arms from a patrol boat to the quayside at Dover harbour as the child’s parents walked close behind. 

All three were wearing bright orange life jackets with the toddler’s parents wearing facemasks. The group included a number of children and appeared to be mainly African and Middle Eastern.

It comes as Home Secretary Priti Patel is set to announce plans to make it a criminal offence for migrants to attempt to enter the UK without valid entry clearance.

The Borders Bill will attempt to deter illegal entry and crackdown on people smuggling gangs. It will be introduced next week after June saw more migrants cross the Channel by small boat than in any month ever before.

Border Force detained 2,179 people last month making the dangerous trip across the world’s busiest shipping route in the world in 92 boats.

It smashed the previously monthly record set last September (2020) when 1,954 arrived on UK shores.

Clandestine Channel Threat Commander Dan O’Mahoney said: ‘Dan O’Mahoney, Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, said: ‘We are seeing an unacceptable rise in dangerous and unnecessary small boat crossings.

A group of migrants arrive to the Kent coast after crossing the world's busiest shipping route

A group of migrants arrive to the Kent coast after crossing the world’s busiest shipping route

Children arrived to Dungeness

Children were carried by officers

Children were among those who were brought into harbour by emergency teams

A group of migrants arrive to Dover Marina in Kent after making the treacherous journey across the English Channel

A group of migrants arrive to Dover Marina in Kent after making the treacherous journey across the English Channel

The Home Office is yet to confirm exactly how many arrived on Sunday or how many have made the 21-mile crossing today

The Home Office is yet to confirm exactly how many arrived on Sunday or how many have made the 21-mile crossing today

A Border Force officer carries a toddler from a migrant boat in Dover, Kent

A Border Force officer carries a toddler from a migrant boat in Dover, Kent

Rescue teams escort migrants as they arrive to Dover in Kent

Rescue teams escort migrants as they arrive to Dover in Kent

‘That’s why we continue to target the criminal gangs who are responsible for these illegal crossings at every level. We have doubled the number of police officers on the ground in France, leading to more interception and arrests of those behind this cruel trade.

‘But there is more to do, that’s why our new plan for immigration will break the business model of these criminal gangs whilst welcoming people through safe and legal routes.’ 

Boris Johnson has been warned that the failure to tackle the migrant boats crisis is hitting Tory support in Red Wall seats won by the Conservatives at the last Election.

An MP representing one of the constituencies gained from Labour by the Tories told The Mail on Sunday that the issue was ‘starting to hit support’.

In response to the crisis, the Government proposed a Nationality and Borders Bill in Parliament last week that will allow Border Force officials to use ‘reasonable force’ to detain would-be asylum seekers at sea and return vessels in the Channel back to safe countries. 

Migrants arrive to Dungeness in Kent after being brought by a RNLI Dungeness Lifeboat

Migrants arrive to Dungeness in Kent after being brought by a RNLI Dungeness Lifeboat

Police officers at the scene as a group of migrants arrive to  Dungeness after crossing the Channel

Police officers at the scene as a group of migrants arrive to  Dungeness after crossing the Channel

Migrants wear life jacket and rain coats as they arrive to Dover Marina

Migrants wear life jacket and rain coats as they arrive to Dover Marina

But the power to send boats back to France – where most migrant boats are launched – will require an agreement with the French, and talks on a deal have broken down.

After the Bill was unveiled, the Crown Prosecution Service created a further headache by advising its lawyers not to prosecute migrants entering the country illegally.

It told prosecutors to stop charging passengers arriving in small boats or lorries, claiming they were typically victims of exploitation or had no choice in how they travelled.

It caused consternation among some Tory MPs who warned it represented a ‘new low’ for the CPS as the issue of illegal immigration continued to dent party support.

The MP said: ‘In the past few weeks it has become noticeable how much it is coming up on the doorstep, and Boris is being personally associated with it. That and Matt Hancock’s resignation are the issues which are really cutting through with voters.’

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