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Over 20,000 people cross the English Channel so far this year, despite Rwanda deal

August 15, 2022 at 11:56 am

Migrants are brought ashore by a RNLI lifeboat in Dover, UK on May 23, 2022 [Stuart Brock – Anadolu Agency]

Over 20,000 people have already crossed the English Channel in small boats this year with at least 607 people arriving on Saturday alone.

Saturday was the third time the number of people crossing the busiest shipping lane in the world was over 600 since the start of this year.

The figures released by the PA news agency confirm that the number of people crossing this year will be higher than last year, despite promises by the government that Brexit and the Rwanda deal would curb refugees arriving in the UK.

It has been predicted that roughly 60,000 people will cross the English Channel this year. In 2019 the number of people was 1,843 and in 2021 it was 28,526.

Charities have warned that the scheme risks sending refugees underground and not claiming asylum for fear they will be flagged for deportation to Rwanda which makes them more vulnerable to exploitation.

UK: Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss both pledge to pursue further Rwanda-style deals

As well as this, people smugglers will charge higher prices to help people avoid Border Force.

During the 2016 Brexit referendum Boris Johnson said that “The only way to take back control of immigration is to Vote Leave”, whilst Priti Patel said that leaving the EU would bring the immigration “chaos under control.”

Yet since the UK left the EU on 31 January 2020, the number of refugees crossing the Dover Strait has soared.

The government has said that its deal with Rwanda to deport refugees arriving in the UK to the east African country for processing will take away the incentive for them to make the journey and deter them from arriving.

But this has also rung hollow. Last month a group of MPs said that there was no evidence that the Rwanda scheme will result in less crossings.

Both Conservative Party leadership hopefuls Rishi Sunak and Lizz Truss have promised to take greater control of the UK’s borders and pursue further Rwanda-style deals.