More than 13,000 people have crossed the English Channel since Rwanda’s deportation program was announced, according to new figures.
Nobody was sent to this central African country since the policy was announced on April 13 by the Minister of the Interior Priti Patel.
Since April 14, 13,016 people have crossed the English Channel in small craft – with five vessels totaling 176 people making the trip last Sunday alone, the Ministry of Defense said.
The total number of people to have crossed paths this year now stands at 18,284.
Some 28,526 crossed in small craft in 2021; 8,466 in 2020; 1,843 in 2019 and 199 in 2018.
On Monday, photographs showed another group of migrants – wearing life jackets and face masks – being brought into Dover by Border Force agents.
A number of children and babies were among those moved from the ship to a waiting bus.
According to an analysis by the PA news agency, 1,885 people have been brought to the UK so far in August, more than half of the 3,053 people rescued in August last year.
Both candidates for the post of Prime Minister have pledged to continue the policy.
The singular flight planned to take people from the UK to Rwanda was halted at the 11th hour following a legal challenge.
The government has not ruled out leaving the European human rights framework after the latest court rulings.
Smugglers in Iraq told Sky News that they follow what is happening – and that some people may be discouraged from making the trip due to politics.
“People were afraid to go to Britain and be deported to Rwanda, but I think that decision is on hold for now, so migration has started again,” said one smuggler.
“If the Rwandan policy is implemented, I think people will give up traveling to Britain and go to Europe instead. They wouldn’t go to Britain.”
Rwanda accused of “recruiting refugees” into the armed forces
The scheme was worth £120million when it was announced.
Court documents revealed that Ms Patel was advised against enacting the scheme by officialsincluding the UK High Commissioner to Rwanda.
In February 2021, they referred to the fact that the country “has been accused of recruiting refugees to carry out armed operations in neighboring countries”.
In April, Ms Patel hailed the Rwanda deal as a “world-class” plan that provided a “model” for other countries to follow.
“The UK asylum system is collapsing under a combination of real humanitarian crises and malicious smugglers who profit by exploiting the system for their own gain,” she said.
“This has devastating consequences for the countless men, women and children who have tragically lost their lives or loved ones on perilous journeys.
“Global leadership is needed to find new, innovative solutions to this growing problem.”
The week the deal was announced was the busiest of the year for crossings, with 2,076 people crossing the Channel.