‘Invasion’: Dozens More Illegal Boat Migrants Brought Ashore at Dover

DOVER, ENGLAND - APRIL 04: An RNLI vessel makes it's way along the coastline near Samphire Hoe on April 4, 2019 in Dover, England. Two separate incidents of migrants coming ashore have been reported along the Kent coast near Folkestone this morning. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Some 70 illegal boat migrants reached Britain on Tuesday, as the number of Channel migrant crossings have set an annual record, despite being only halfway through the year.

The illegal migrants attempted to cross the English Channel despite the foggy condition, before being brought ashore by UK Border Force. The crossings bring the total number of illegal boat migrants recorded this year to have reached British shores to over 2,000, a new record, compared to 1,890 for the whole of last year.

On Tuesday, two of the estimated 70 migrants attempted to row their way across the Channel from France in a small fibreglass canoe.

Since the national lockdown was introduced on March 23rd — restricting the movement of British citizens in order to contain the spread of the Chinese coronavirus — approximately 1,620 migrants have sailed from camps in France to the UK, despite reports of COVID outbreaks in Calais and Dunkirk.

Once escorted to the Port of Dover, migrants are given masks by immigration officials, yet are rarely tested for the disease, according to the Daily Mail.

In response to the crossings, a Coast Guard spokesman said: “HM Coastguard has been coordinating search and rescue responses to incidents off Kent today, working with Border Force, Kent Police and other partners.”

“HM Coastguard is only concerned with preservation of life, rescuing those in trouble and bringing them safely back to shore, where they will be handed over to the relevant partner emergency services or authorities,” he added.

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said this month that the problem of illegal boat migration will persist as long as the British government continues to bring migrants ashore. He said, instead, they should be sent back to France, which is a safe, first-world country and where under international law, refugees should remain.

“You’ve got to be firm to be fair, you’ve got to be tough to be kind in the end, and the kindest thing you could do is to close down the people-smuggling trade. That means as soon as you come across a people-smuggling boat, you stop it and take it back to the place from where it came,” Abbott said.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage — who has exposed the fact that the French navy has actively been escorting illegal migrants into British territorial waters — reported that on Tuesday more migrants were also brought ashore at Ramsgate, a port that is to the north of Dover.

“A second port is now being used to prepare for the invasion. Our government says nothing…” Mr Farage wrote on social media.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has reportedly been trying to secure a deal with France that would allow Britain’s navy to return migrants caught in the Channel directly back to France, instead of bringing them to Britain, where they are not likely to face deportation.

There are no signs that any such deal is imminent, with the French navy escorting more migrants into British waters over the weekend.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka

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