Border Force intercept 23 migrants making Channel crossing in dinghies


More than 20 migrants arrived at Dover this morning after being brought to shore by Border Force officials following their crossing of the English Channel in small boats.

Some 23 people, including five who had been in a small dinghy and another 18 in a larger craft, had crossed the Channel in calm conditions overnight and were seen wearing face masks as they were brought ashore.

The group, who all appeared to be young men and were all wearing orange lifejackets, walked onto the marina at the port town in Kent with one of them wearing flip flops as they were accompanies by the officials.

Today’s arrivals mean 1,464 migrants have now crossed the Channel so far in 2021 in small boats – including 223 in 15 boats in January, 308 in 18 boats in February, 831 in 42 boats in March and 102 in six boats so far this month. 

It comes after five migrants arrived in Dover on Saturday, a day after 44 others made the journey. Authorities in France intercepted at least 49 who attempted to cross last Friday, and then another 98 on six boats on Saturday. 

A group of migrants are brought ashore at Dover Marina in Kent this morning after crossing the English Channel

A group of migrants are brought ashore at Dover Marina in Kent this morning after crossing the English Channel

Migrants sit on a Border Force vessel this morning after crossing the English Channel in calm conditions overnight

Migrants sit on a Border Force vessel this morning after crossing the English Channel in calm conditions overnight

One man is seen wearing flip flops as he walks onto Dover Marina in Kent this morning after crossing the English Channel

One man is seen wearing flip flops as he walks onto Dover Marina in Kent this morning after crossing the English Channel

A migrant sits in a Border Force boat this morning after crossing the Channel in a small boat during the calm conditions

A migrant sits in a Border Force boat this morning after crossing the Channel in a small boat during the calm conditions

The number of migrants who have reached the UK by illegally crossing the Channel has risen 192 per cent year-on-year

The number of migrants who have reached the UK by illegally crossing the Channel has risen 192 per cent year-on-year 

Some 1,362 people made the perilous journey from France between January 1 and the end of March, before today's arrivals

Some 1,362 people made the perilous journey from France between January 1 and the end of March, before today’s arrivals

The number of migrants who have reached the UK by illegally crossing the Channel has risen 192 per cent year-on-year

The number of migrants who have reached the UK by illegally crossing the Channel has risen 192 per cent year-on-year

The number of migrants who have reached the UK by illegally crossing the Channel has risen 192 per cent year-on-year, with 1,362 people making the perilous journey from France between January 1 and the end of March.

This is compared with just 466 over the same period last year. If the increase is replicated across the whole year, almost 25,000 would traverse the Channel in small boats – smashing last year’s record of 8,410.

The total number for March was 831 – more than four times the 187 seen in the same month last year. Home Secretary Priti Patel has unveiled a series of reforms to stop smuggling gangs sending migrants across the water.

Overall numbers of asylum seekers making new claims in the UK fell to 29,456 last year, excluding dependants, down 18 per cent on the previous year.

But a greater proportion of the claims are now being made by migrants who arrived by the Channel route. Others come here clandestinely in lorries, for example, or through official Home Office schemes.

Migrants are taken ashore by Border Force officials this morning as they arrive at Dover Marina in Kent

Migrants are taken ashore by Border Force officials this morning as they arrive at Dover Marina in Kent

The group, who all appeared to be young men and were all wearing orange lifejackets, walked onto the marina in Kent today

The group, who all appeared to be young men and were all wearing orange lifejackets, walked onto the marina in Kent today

The group of migrants are led ashore by Border Force officials this morning after crossing the English Channel

The group of migrants are led ashore by Border Force officials this morning after crossing the English Channel

Migrants sit on board the Border Force vessel after crossing the England Channel in two small boats overnight

Migrants sit on board the Border Force vessel after crossing the England Channel in two small boats overnight

The larger of the two vessels which an 18-strong group of the 23 migrants crossed the Channel in overnight

The larger of the two vessels which an 18-strong group of the 23 migrants crossed the Channel in overnight

Items left on board the dinghy this morning which some of the migrants used to cross the English Channel overnight

Items left on board the dinghy this morning which some of the migrants used to cross the English Channel overnight 

The smaller of the two dinghies which was carrying five migrants across the Channel is pictured this morning

The smaller of the two dinghies which was carrying five migrants across the Channel is pictured this morning

Last month Miss Patel announced that border guards patrolling the Channel will be given powers to turn back migrant boats. The crackdown will be dependent on France and other countries accepting the return of migrants. 

The planned shake-up includes other controversial steps such as stripping failed asylum seekers of support and accommodation.

Foreign nationals could also be refused UK visas if their governments do not accept deportations of their own immigration rule-breakers from Britain.

France struck a deal with the UK in November to tackle illegal Channel crossings but has so far resisted the idea of having dinghies sent back to its northern beaches.

The Government’s new plan for immigration, published in full on March 24, revealed the bill for the asylum system is set to rise to more than £1.3billion this year, from just under £1billion in 2019-20.

Number of migrants crossing the Channel in small boats

  • January 2020 – 87
  • February 2020 – 192
  • March 2020 – 187
  • April 2020 – 530
  • May 2020 – 741 
  • June 2020 – 702
  • July 2020 – 1118
  • August 2020 – 1,468
  • September 2020 – 1,954
  • October 2020 – 463 

  • November 2020 – 757
  • December 2020 – 211
  • January 2021 – 223
  • February 2021 – 308
  • March 2021 – 831
  • April 2021 (so far) – 102

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