Over 5,000 Illegal Boat Migrants Have Now Landed in Britain in 2020

DOVER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 20: Migrant men picked up by the UK Border Force arrive at Dover Port on August 20, 2020 in Dover, England. Favourable weather conditions in recent weeks have led to a rise in people attempting to cross the channel. The ones who make it to British …
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Over 5,000 illegal boat migrants have reached the United Kingdom in small rubber dinghies from France since the start of the year, analysis from the Press Association on Friday found.

The massive increase in illegal boat migration this summer has forced the British government to deploy Royal Air Force (RAF) planes to the English Channel to assist the UK Border Force in the growing crisis.

These assets simply pick up detected migrants in the water and bring them the rest of the way to Britain, however, with reports suggesting that the Royal Navy may have to be sent to finally begin a “push back” of migrants to France.

The Border Force has revealed that they have intercepted migrants claiming to be Iraqi, Iranian, Sudanese, Yemeni, Syrian, Eritrean, Kuwaiti, Tajikistani, Vietnamese, Guinean, Malian, Turkish, Afghan, Palestinian, Sri Lankan, Egyptian, Ethiopian, Pakistani, Chadian, Somali, Togolese, Nigerian, Libyan, South Sudanese, Albanian, and Chinese in the English Channel, the Express and Star reports.

The above countries have a combined population of well over two-and-a-half billion.

The number of migrants recorded to have reached British shores is fast approaching three times as many that were reported to have made it to the United Kingdom during the whole of 2019, which was 1,890.

This is despite proclamations from Home Secretary Priti Patel that the government would make the illegal journeys an “infrequent phenomenon” and that the Home Office will make the migrant route in the Channel “completely unviable”.

A report in July from the pressure group Migration Watch UK warned that the massive increase in illegal boat migration may see nearly  7,600 illegal migrants reach Britain by Christmas.

But since the publication of the report, illegal migration in the Channel has drastically increased, with over 1,000 crossings recorded in just 10 days this month — meaning the estimate will likely be surpassed.

On Friday, the Home Office announced that Harjinder Singh Pannu, a 43-year-old people-smuggler based in Middlesex, has been sentenced to a fairly brief three-year term – and criminals in Britain are typically entitled to automatic release on licence halfway or, more rarely, two-thirds of the way through their terms.

The people-smuggler was caught by Border Force agents at the entrance to the Eurotunnel in Coquelles, France, attempting to smuggle three Afghanis in the boot of a rental car into England.

Commenting on the case, Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “People-smuggling by ruthless criminals intent on profiteering from vulnerable migrants has to end.

“This case sends a clear signal to people-smugglers – we will stop you, arrest you and bring you to justice,” she claimed.

The Home Office has also created a new position to confront the growing crisis in the Channel, giving Dan O’Mahoney the position of “clandestine Channel threat commander”.

O’Mahoney, a former Royal Marine who served in Kosovo and Iraq, met with his counterparts in France in order to try and reach an agreement to halt the ongoing waves of boat migrants.

The British wish to see migrants immediately returned to France; a policy modelled off the highly successful Operation Sovereign Borders policy introduced by former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, which saw illegal boat migration virtually eliminated.

France has so far been unwilling to agree such a policy, even demanding that Britain pay an additional £30 million to stop illegal migration coming from their shores — and Boris Johnson’s administration seems unwilling to countenance returning boats without French permission.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka

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