Twice as Many Illegal Boat Migrants Land in Britain This Year Than All of 2020

DUNGENESS, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: A group of around 40 migrants arrive via the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) on Dungeness beach on August 04, 2021 in Dungeness, England. UK Home Secretary Priti Patel recently said that the government would seek to criminalise irregular migration, accusing people smugglers of "exploiting …
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The crisis in the English Channel has seen double the number of illegal boat migrants land in the first nine months of the year as the whole of 2020.

Whether through ineptitude, design, or a simple lack of will, Boris Johnson’s Conservative government has failed to “take back control” of immigration in the nine months following the UK’s official departure from the European Union.

With another 660 illegal migrants landing on British shores on Sunday, the total number for the year was taken to approximately 17,063 known illegals, according to calculations made by the BBC. The latest milestone means that more than twice as many illegals landed so far this year than all of last year’s total of 8,410, which was then an annual record now far surpassed.

In September, alone, an estimated 4,638 migrants crossed the English Channel from France in 160 small rubber boats, more than twice the total number of migrant crossings seen in the whole year of 2019.

Dan O’Mahoney, Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, said:   “The government is determined to tackle the unacceptable rise in dangerous Channel crossings using every tool at our disposal, at every stage in the journey.”

“The Channel is one of the most dangerous and busiest shipping lanes in the world. Many migrants come from some of the poorest and most chaotic parts of the world, and many ask to claim asylum once they are picked up by the UK authorities.”

Over a dozen migrants have either gone missing or died in the English Channel since the beginning of 2019, with a family of five Iranian migrants, including three children, aged nine, six, and 15-months-old, growing while attempting to sail in a small rubber boat from France last October.

They joined the terrible trend seen around Europe of hopeful migrants lured to their deaths by people smugglers taking large payments and then putting them to sea on dangerously inadequate boats.

Last month, a 27-year-old migrant man from Eritrea died after he alongside four other migrants were forced to abandon ship after their small boat started to capsize.

On Tuesday, French media reported that another migrant died after being crushed by a lorry in Calais while trying to sneak into the UK.

On Sunday, Brexit leader Nigel Farage posted video footage of the latest “huge armada” to arrive on UK soil, writing: “The numbers for 2021 are already double that of 2020, and it’s only September… Brexit voters are furious — and rightly so.”

Since officially leaving the EU earlier this year, Home Secretary Priti Patel has floated a myriad of proposals to cut illegal immigration, including floating ferry asylum processing centres, a joint plan with the Kingdom of Denmark to process migrants in Africa, and introducing life sentences for people-smugglers.

In July, the Home Office also agreed to send another £54.2 million ($75mn) to France to step up border patrols on the French coast to stem the flow of illegal migration, on top of the £28 million sent last November.

Patel has attempted to use the latest payoff as a bargaining chip to encourage the French to step up enforcement, threatening to withhold some of the money if they failed to cut the numbers of illegal migrants coming to the UK.

With this measure seemingly bearing little fruit, the Home Office has reportedly signed off on finally allowing the Border Force to adopt a turn back the boats approach, rather than bringing them ashore at the Port of Dover.

Yet, rather than opting for a full-scale Australian-style effort, Permanent Undersecretary to the Home Office Matthew Rycroft admitted that only a “small proportion” of the migrant boats would actually be stopped.

The financial strain of the record-breaking waves of illegal immigration have put a serious dent in the UK government’s budget, with the Home Office admitting this month that the cost of housing alleged asylum seekers cost the British taxpayer £1.4 billion last year.

With illegal immigration across the English Channel only increasing and the government opening the doors to tens of thousands of refugees from Afghanistan, the cost is likely to continue to grow.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


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