Warmer weather sees record number of migrants reach Britain in a single day this year

FILE - People thought to be migrants, who undertook the crossing from France in small boats and were picked up in the Channel, wait to be disembarked from a British border force vessel, in Dover, southeast England, Friday, June 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
By Thomas Brooke
3 Min Read

Britain experienced its highest daily total this year for illegal migrant crossings on Saturday as 872 people successfully reached England’s southern shores in 15 vessels from mainland Europe.

The figure, confirmed by the Home Office, surpasses the previous highest daily total for 2023 of 756 new arrivals on Aug. 10.

A total of 20,973 migrants in 436 boats have now crossed the English Channel so far this year despite the U.K. government insisting that one of its main priorities is to “stop the boats.”

With a heatwave and calmer sailing conditions expected this week across the English south coast, that figure is likely to rise considerably as opportunistic migrants use the services of people smugglers to reach Britain and claim asylum.

In December 2018, then Home Secretary Sajid Javid cut short an African safari family holiday to return to Britain to tackle the migrant crisis after reports of a few dozen migrants attempting to reach the U.K. over several days — a scenario that puts into context the current crisis.

Last month, it emerged that more than 100,000 migrants have crossed the English Channel on small boats since 2018, ramping up the pressure on the governing Conservative party to do what it often pledges to do at elections and take back control of Britain’s borders.

More than 50,000 of those new arrivals still reside in taxpayer-funded hotel accommodations, costing more than £6 million per day, and a considerable asylum backlog remains a major concern, as does the inability to deport those whose applications are refused.

Several proposals to tackle the problem have so far proven to be ineffective, including the plan to deport all new arrivals to offshore centers in African nations like Rwanda, or relocate mass numbers of migrants living in hotels to disused army bases and docked barges in English ports to relieve the financial burden of accommodating them at the cost of the British taxpayer.

The government insists that its proposed migration legislation will solve the problem, providing more powers to detain and deport those who arrive in the country illegally; however, this is yet to enter into force.

“The unacceptable number of people risking their lives by making these dangerous crossings is placing an unprecedented strain on our asylum system,” a Home Office spokesperson said.

“The government is going even further through our Illegal Migration Act which will mean that people arriving in the U.K. illegally are detained and promptly removed to their country of origin or a safe third country,” they added.

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