Over the weekend, British border guards detained another 151 migrants in rubber boats who landed on the British coast, raising alarms that the illegal migration wave hitting the United Kingdom shows no signs of slowing down.
According to the AP agency, more than 4,100 migrants have arrived in the country this year.
The number has risen substantially in recent days, hitting a record of 235 migrants on Thursday. That day, British Border Force patrol detained migrants in a total of 17 boats as they attempted to land on the Kent coast. Another 130 illegal migrants in 13 boats followed on Friday.
Interior Minister Rishi Sunak said that British people are right to be frustrated over the migrant crossings.
“We all want to see these crossings reduced,” Sunak continued.
During August, 650 migrants arrived in the UK on boats, with the calm sea offering favorable conditions for the journey.
This year, the Kent Council said it had to take care of 400 migrant minors. Only in the first week of August, 60 of them arrived in the UK.
Minister of State at the Department for Education Nick Gibb told SkyNews that the government is determined to stop the illegal route across the Channel into Britain.
“We’re talking to French ministers about preventing people leaving France in the first place, and then finding other ways of making sure that we return boats to France when they’re trying to make what is a very dangerous crossing,” said Gibb.
“France is a safe country, and if people are seeking asylum, they should be seeking asylum in France in the first instance,” he added.
In response, British immigration minister Chris Philip will meet with his French counterpart next week to address shutting down this migration route. He also demands these migrants to be fingerprinted and face “real consequences”.
However, the British government plans to push back migrant boats are facing criticism from opposition politicians. For example, former Labour home and foreign secretary Jack Straw objected to the plan.
“I don’t think that just trying to push these people back is going to work,” he said, adding that “it will only take one of these dinghies to capsize and everybody to drown for there to be a hullabaloo.”
The British Royal Navy also refused to intervene, claiming that it is “absurd” to send modern large warships with an elite unit to deal with migrants on rubber boats.
Title image: A Border Force vessel brings a group of people thought to be migrants into the port city of Dover, England, from small boats, Saturday Aug. 8, 2020. The British government says it will strengthen border measures as calm summer weather has prompted a record number of people to attempt the risky sea crossing in small vessels, from northern France to England. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)