Illegal Boat Migrant Crossings Hit Highest Monthly Total for the Year

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, following a small boat incident in the Channel. Picture date: Tuesday June 28, 2022. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images

Illegal migrant crossings of the English Channel have hit their highest monthly total for the year as people-smuggling efforts ramped up during the warmer weather.

A total of 3,136 illegal migrants in 76 boats landed on British shores in the month of June, the highest total for a month so far this year, according to analysis from the PA News Agency as reported by ITV News.

June’s crossings take the known total for the year to 12,690, more than five times the number that had crossed at this point of the year in 2020 (2,493) and over double that recorded in the first six months of last year (5,917).

Crossings of the English Channel from France typically ramp up during the late summer and autumn amid calmer conditions on the busy waterway, with the highest monthly total being recorded in November of last year when 6,971 migrants were brought ashore.

The pace of boat landings is on track to meet the prediction of 65,000 migrant arrivals by the end of the year, though some have warned that as many as 100,000 may reach Britain this year, compared to 28,526 in 2021, 8,466 in 2020, 1,843 in 2019, and 299 in 2018.

The government announced earlier this year that in order to create a deterrence to the often dangerous people-smuggling trade in the Channel, illegal boat migrants would be deported to the East African nation of Rwanda.

The scheme has yet to materialise, however, with a flight last month being blocked by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which the United Kingdom is still subject to as it is technically a separate institution from the European Union (EU) and therefore unaffected by Brexit.

In response, the government has put forward legislation in the upcoming British Bill of Rights to empower British courts to have the final say on migrant removals, yet this will likely not come into effect until late this year. It also remains to be seen how much better the government will be in convincing British judges to deport illegal aliens than the European court, given the history of British judges siding with migrants.

This week, the government did successfully come to an agreement with Nigeria on the return of foreign criminals, with thirteen Nigerians being deported to their homeland on Thursday alongside eight Ghanaian criminals.

The British government has already signed deals with Albania, India, and Serbia. When combined with Nigeria, the nationalities account for over a tenth of the foreign prison population in Britain.

To date, the Home Office under Priti Pate has had an abysmal record in terms of deporting illegals and foreign criminals overall, with removals of rapists, robbers, and murders falling to an all-time low last year. Just 956 criminals were deported from the country, a thirteen per cent drop over 2019.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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