On Monday, at least 430 migrants crossed the English Channel to reach the UK. That is a new one-day record in modern history. The British Ministry of the Interior informed the public of this news, stating that it is doing everything possible to reduce illegal migration.
Dozens of men, women, and children got across the sea in small boats. The largest group, numbering about 50 people, landed off the coast of Dungeness in Kent.
The previous record for incoming migrants in a single day was from last September. At that time, authorities recorded 416 people.
Over the course of this year, more than 8,000 refugees on 345 boats have arrived in Britain. The vast majority of these vessels are not constructed for the demanding voyage across the sea. Inevitably, some of the attempts to cross over end in tragedy.
Interior ministry employee Dan O’Mahoney, who is in charge of migration across the English Channel, said he would come down on “criminals who allow these crossings across the sea.”
“People should apply for asylum in the first safe country they enter and not risk their lives through these dangerous crossings,” O’Mahoney said.
Controversial plans of the dreaded minister
The interior ministry said it wanted to take action against illegal migration. Minister Priti Patel promised to introduce a law that would help asylum seekers get to a “safe third country.”
Illegal entry into the United Kingdom (also for the purpose of applying for asylum) would be a criminal offense under the proposed law. At the same time, the new legislation would give the British border guards the power to intercept boats and force them to return to France.
However, the most controversial part of the proposal is that the ministry could send asylum seekers abroad even during the assessment of their application. Patel probably got her inspiration from Australia.
Among the proposed countries to which she would like to send refugees are Rwanda, Gibraltar, and Ascension Island.
The opposition Labor Party has criticized Patel’s plans, warning the government could end up prosecuting charities that save lives at sea off the British coast.
According to the United Nations, the proposed bill clearly violates the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.
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)