At least 828 people made the dangerous journey across the English Channel on board small boats in a single day at the weekend – a new record for the current crisis.
Despite repeated vows by the Home Office to make the route “unviable”, 30 boats succeeded in reaching the UK on Saturday, the department confirmed late on Monday night.
The arrivals tally eclipses the previous daily record of 592 people set less than two weeks ago.
At-a-glance: 5 key points
- The new daily record from Saturday heaps pressure on Home Secretary Priti Patel, and there are reports that she is planning to continue using army barracks to house migrants for another four years despite the High Court ruling them “unsafe.”
- More than 12,400 people have now made the perilous crossing to the UK in 2021.
- The Home Office said nearly 200 people making the trip were also stopped by the French authorities.
- The sea journey has claimed many lives, leading to outpourings of grief and repeated promises of action from governments on both sides of the Channel.
- Refugee charities have called for a “humanitarian” response to the ongoing crisis.
What’s been said?
Bella Sankey, director for charity Detention Action, said the Home Office “needs to confront reality”.
“Refugees will continue to come to the UK, as they have for centuries, as long as there are despots, wars and persecution in this world,” she said.
“To end the use of small boats, MPs should create a humanitarian visa system for people in France who are travelling to the UK so they can arrive here in safety and with dignity to make their claims.”
Dan O’Mahoney, the Home Office’s Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, said: “These dangerous crossings from safe EU countries are completely unnecessary and we are determined to take down the evil criminal gangs behind them.
“We’re working across Government as well as with French and international partners to tackle this issue.
“We have doubled the number of police officers on French beaches, prevented more than 10,000 attempts, secured nearly 300 arrests and 65 prosecutions.”
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