WATCH: Another 160 Illegal Boat Migrants Cross the English Channel

Two men walk down a ramp as they leave a rescue boat on October 18, 2020 in Calais, after they were rescued with 15 others off the northern French port city while attempting to reach England by crossing the Channel on an inflatable boat. - The body of a man …
BERNARD BARRON/AFP via Getty Images

Nearly 160 illegal boat migrants made it to the UK on Tuesday, as the growing migrant crisis in the English Channel shows no signs of slowing down.

The Home Office confirmed that UK Border Force brought ashore at the Port of Dover another 159 illegal migrants, while French authorities stopped a further 30 migrants from making the perilous journey across the Channel.

The latest crossings bring the total recorded number of illegal migrants who have reached the UK this year to 7,915, up from 1,890 last year, and far outpacing the already dire projections from the think tank Migration Watch UK, which estimated 7,500 would reach the country by the end of the year.

Clandestine Channel Threat Commander Dan O’Mahoney blamed criminal trafficking organisations for the latest crossings. He said, per the BBC: “We are working side by side with France to increase beach patrols and enhance surveillance to stop the crossings at source, breaking up the ruthless gangs who facilitate this activity, and locking up the people smugglers responsible.”

“We are returning migrants who have no right to stay in the UK to safe countries with flights every week and will do whatever we can to make this route unviable,” O’Mahoney added.

The leader of the Reform UK party, Nigel Farage, released footage of the migrants arriving in Dover, saying: “Mainstream media won’t tell you this but huge numbers of illegal migrants into Dover again today, following on from many more this week. They think we don’t care.”

Between Thursday and Saturday, an estimated 100 illegal migrants were brought ashore in England.

Meanwhile, French authorities have arrested an Iraqi-Kurdish people-smuggling gang that is believed to have been responsible for trafficking between 500 and 1,000 illegal migrants to the UK over the past year, The Times reported on Monday.

Superintendent Jean Arvieu said that the trafficking group would charge migrants — which mainly consisted of Iraqi Kurds but also included Iranians, Syrians, Pakistanis, and Afghans — €3,000 (£2,690) to help them illegally enter Britain by lorry and €1,800 (£1,600) by boat.

While the suspects were not found with significant sums of money on them when they were detained, it is believed that the gang likely were used the Islamic hawala system — which has also been used to finance terrorism — to transfer funds to further evade detection.

The arrests come as Britain’s equivalent to the FBI, the National Crime Agency (NCA), has taken aim at American Silicon Vally tech companies, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for allowing trafficking groups to operate and organise openly on their platforms.

In a letter addressed to MPs on the home affairs committee, the NCA’s director of threat leadership Rob Jones wrote: “The main reasons provided by social media companies for pages not being removed include that the page does not contravene their policies or that the page or post does not meet the required threshold to constitute a breach of policy. On occasion, individual posts will be removed, but pages kept open.”

“The most prominent social media sites/applications featuring posts linked to organised immigration crime include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Telegram,” Jones said.

The NCA said that trafficking organisations are using the pages to promote smuggling routes as well as to share counterfeit or stolen identification documents. While the social media companies have shut 3,578 pages by September, some 485 pages are believed to remain in operation, with the agency referring a further 1,218 to the tech companies.

In response, Migration Watch UK Chairman Alp Mehmet said: “There is simply no excuse for them to refuse to co-operate with the NCA in shutting down pages the agency believes are being used by criminal gangs to lure people into making deadly trips.”

Facebook has argued that the pages should remain open, as they may assist authorities in saving people in life-threatening situations, but said in a statement: “We work closely with law enforcement agencies around the world including Europol to identify, remove and report this illegal activity.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here: @KurtZindulka

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