World News

Channel migrant arrivals pass 5,000 as record start to the year continues

[ad_1]

Migrants try to pull a child out of the water as they wait to be rescued 12 nautical miles north of Libya. — AFP/File
Migrants try to pull a child out of the water as they wait to be rescued 12 nautical miles north of Libya. — AFP/File

LONDON: Small boat arrivals passed 5,000 by the end of March for the first time as a record start to the year continued.

A total of 349 people crossed the English Channel on Saturday, taking the total for the year up to 4,993. Further arrivals on Easter Sunday saw the figure breach the 5,000 threshold in March for the first time since records began, despite Rishi Sunak having made his pledge to “stop the boats” a key focus of his premiership.

The total number of arrivals is up by almost a third on the same point in 2023, when 3,793 migrants had reached the UK in small boats by March 31.

It took until April 17 last year for 5,000 people to cross the Channel, a milestone that was also not reached until April 13 in 2022 and June 14 in 2021.

Out of the first 100 boats to arrive in 2024, the average number of people in each dinghy was more than 47, up from just under 42 the previous year.

Stephen Kinnock, the shadow immigration minister, said: “A year which started with Rishi Sunak and James Cleverly boasting about the success of their small boats strategy is now setting one unwanted record after another for the number of arrivals.”

Their complacency has been laid bare, and their pledge to stop the boats has been left in tatters. We can also see from these figures that there is a major tragedy waiting to happen in the Channel.

“Poor-quality, over-crowded dinghies are putting to sea and getting into trouble early in their journeys, while the smuggling gangs responsible are left to count their profits.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “The unacceptable number of people who continue to cross the Channel demonstrates exactly why we must get flights to Rwanda off the ground as soon as possible.

[ad_2]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *