The number of migrants arriving in Britain in small boats hit a record for a single day yesterday, as the rise in dangerous journeys across the English Channel continues despite UK government plans to deport those arriving illegally to Rwanda, Reuters reports.
Britain’s Ministry of Defence said 1,295 people in 27 boats were intercepted after making the crossing from the European mainland yesterday. The figure surpasses the previous daily record of 1,185 set last November.
The summer surge happens most years, but is now larger than normal as alternative routes have been shut down. The rate of arrivals in the first eight months of this year is almost double that during the same period last year, despite promises by the government that Brexit and the Rwanda deal would curb refugees arriving in the UK.
Britain’s Refugee Council said the figures were “yet more evidence if needed that the government’s cruel Rwanda removals plan – supposedly a deterrent to dangerous Channel crossings – simply isn’t working.”
Under an agreement struck in April, Britain will send tens of thousands of migrants who arrive on its shores illegally more than 6,4000 kilometres to the East African country.
The policy will be the subject of a legal challenge in London’s High Court in early September when a coalition of human rights groups and a trade union will argue that the Rwanda policy is unworkable and unethical.
The first planned deportation flight in June was blocked by a last-minute injunction from the European Court of Human Rights.
In 2021, 28,526 people were detected arriving on small boats – with the highest number from Iran followed by Iraq, Eritrea and Syria. So far this year, more than 22,000 migrants have come to Britain, with government officials warning 60,000 could arrive by the end of the year.
At least 166 people had died or gone missing making the crossing since 2014.
Both candidates vying to replace Boris Johnson as British prime minister, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, have promised to push ahead with deportations to Rwanda.