Almost 700 migrants crossed the English Channel in one day in small boats

Their number is higher than at the beginning of the year


Nearly 700 migrants crossed the English Channel in small boats to reach British shores on Monday, the highest number since the beginning of the year, according to the British Ministry of Defence.

According to official figures, 696 people in 14 small boats were intercepted while making the dangerous crossing at one of the world's busiest points, bringing the total to more than 17.000 since the start of the year.

Faced with the large extent of the phenomenon, the British government signed an agreement with Rwanda to send to the African country asylum seekers who arrive irregularly on British soil. Although none of these deportations have yet taken place – a first flight was planned for June but was canceled following a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) – Boris Johnson's potential successors, Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, have both promised to implement this controversial policy.

British MPs, in their recent report, estimated that this measure is far from having the expected deterrent effect and called on London to negotiate with Paris on the establishment of an asylum application processing center on French soil.

MPs argue that Channel crossings in small craft will continue to rise significantly: 28.500 people arrived in the UK in 2021, a number they say could reach 60.000 by the end of the year.

At least 166 people have died or are missing trying to cross the English Channel, including 27 in a single day in late 2021.

According to a report in the Times newspaper yesterday, Home Secretary Priti Patel is preparing for the third year in a row to pay millions of pounds to France as part of an agreement to deal with these crossings between the French and British governments.

A network suspected of smuggling more than 10.000 migrants from the Middle East and East Africa from France to the UK over the past 12-18 months in small dinghies was recently dismantled and 39 people were arrested. This operation, carried out jointly by France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, was described by Europol as the largest operation to target a network using small vessels.

Source: RES-EAP