UK Border Force Brings Ashore 223 Boat Migrants, as Locals Suggest More Landed Undetected

AT SEA, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 07: Migrants packed tightly onto a small inflatable boat attempt to cross the English Channel near the Dover Strait, the world's busiest shipping lane, on September 07, 2020 off the coast of Dover, England. Last Wednesday, more than 400 migrants made the journey from …
Luke Dray/Getty Images

Over 200 illegal boat migrants were brought ashore by UK Border Force on Monday, as local reports suggest more migrants landed in Kent undetected.

The Home Office said that on Monday, 223 migrants were picked up in 18 small rubber dinghies crossing the English Channel from France. The French intercepted another eight boats carrying 106 people before reaching British territorial waters.

In August over 1,468 migrants made the journey, nearly equalling the total number of migrants that made the crossing in the entirety of 2019, which was 1,890.

The recently installed clandestine Channel threat commander, Dan O’Mahoney, said according to the BBC: “These crossings are facilitated by criminals willing to risk people’s lives for money.”

“France is a safe country with a fully functioning asylum system — those seeking refuge can and should claim asylum there,” he said, adding: “I recognise the number still reaching the UK remains too high.”

The latest migrant arrivals bring the total number since the start of the year close to 6,000, with a record 409 migrants successfully reaching the UK in just one day last week.

The actual number of boat migrants is likely to be much higher in reality, however, as the Home Office refuses to publish the number of alleged child migrants and only records those who were detected by the Border Force.

On Monday, locals spotted an additional boat full of 14 to 16 migrant men in their 20s landing on Kingsdown Beach in Kent.

Christian Thrale told the local news outlet Kent Online: “I was sat on the bench, and I was walking back from near the golf course.”

“I could see a boat coming quite quick towards the beach. I saw about 16 inmigrants jump off and walk to shore. They left the boat in the water floating, but me and a couple of women pulled it on to the shore because we didn’t want it floating off,” he added.

Thrale reported that they went off towards the Kingsdown Golf Club before disappearing, saying that he did not “know if there was a car waiting there for them”.

“Police assisted Border Force following a report of suspected migrants seen near Undercliff Road, Kingsdown at 9.50 am on Monday 7 September 2020,” said a Kent Police spokesman.

The problem of undetected migrant landings was highlighted by Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, who spoke to local fishermen in Pett Level in Hastings, down the coast from Kent.

Speaking from the East Sussex seaside town in April, Mr Farage said: “I think what’s happening is, boats and dinghies are coming in here, under the cover of darkness, and they’re able not just to unload the crew but to get the boats off on trailers, as well.”

Mr Farage later recounted that “I talked to fishermen, one of whom said he’d seen a boat with 29 people land in a break in the cliffs, and them all disappear — and I’ve no reason to disbelieve young Freddy, the fisherman from Hastings, at all.”

Dover MP Natalie Elphicke said that to quell the waves of migrants pouring over from France, the British government must return all mid-Channel boats to France, stop migrant boats from setting off from France in the first place, and to deport illegal migrants as quickly as possible.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.