Record number of illegal immigrants crossing the English Channel in a single day

A record 1,295 illegal immigrants crossed the Channel and arrived in Kent on Monday, the highest figure for a single day since the current record-keeping system began in 2018.

The Ministry of Defence, which leads Operation Isotrope – in which the Royal Navy intercepts small boats from France and Belgium and escorts them ashore – said 27 boats were spotted on Monday, with around 40 or 50 people each on board.

Former UKIP and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage wrote on Twitter: “So 1295 people crossed the English Channel illegally yesterday. This is a new record. Almost all young men, many of them Albania It’s a shame.

Monday’s figure broke the previous record of 1,185, set on November 11, 2021.

In April, Home Secretary Priti Patel signed a deal with Rwanda that involved sending illegal immigrants who had crossed the English Channel to the African country while their cases were being processed by Rwanda officials. immigration. Under the agreement, those who were rejected would remain in Rwanda.

The deal was meant as a deterrent to those making the trip by sea, but 17,402 people have arrived by boat since it was signed.

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The first deportation flight to Rwanda was blocked amid legal challenges in June and the case is not expected to be decided in UK courts until October.

In early August, Muhamed Veliu, a Top Channel political correspondent in Albania, told The Epoch Times, “When the Rwanda deal was done, we reported it in Albania and there was concern for a month. , but that did not stop the traffickers. They advertised on TikTok and said “hurry up, nobody will send you to Rwanda”.

Interior Minister Priti Patel and Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta signed the Migration and Economic Development Partnership in Kigali in April 2022. (Flora Thompson/PA)

More than 22,600 people have arrived in the UK by boat this year, up from 12,500 at the same time last year. If Monday’s numbers were matched every day, the number at the end of August will surpass the 28,526 who made the crossing in 2021.

On Tuesday, Border Patrol Hurricane intercepted another boat with 40 people on board, including a family with two young children. They were escorted to safety in Dover and then transferred to be processed at a former army barracks in nearby Manston.

Armed Forces Minister James Heappey last month denied a claim by Labor MP John Spellar at a Defense Select Committee hearing that the Royal Navy had been reduced to the role of a ‘tourist guide’ for illegal immigrants heading to the south of England.

“It would be a really unfair reflection of the work they are doing,” said Heappey, who confirmed Operation Isotrope was due for review in January 2023 and it was hoped Home Office staff would take on a large part of the stewardship of the armed forces. .

A government spokesman told the Palestinian Authority: “The increase in dangerous Channel crossings is unacceptable. Not only do they constitute a clear abuse of our immigration laws, but they endanger the lives of vulnerable people, who are exploited by ruthless criminal gangs.

He said the new nationality and borders law breached the “bad criminal business model” and pointed to 38 people who were arrested in a cross-border operation in July.

“As part of our new migration and economic development partnership with Rwanda, we are continuing preparations to relocate those making these unnecessary and illegal journeys, helping to save lives by deterring others from crossing,” added the spokesperson.

PA Media contributed to this report.

Chris Summers


Chris Summers is a UK-based journalist covering a wide range of national stories, with a particular interest in crime, policing and the law.