A record number of at least 430 migrants have illegally crossed the Channel to the UK in a single day, the government said Tuesday, as it vowed a crackdown.
Monday’s figure surpassed a previous daily high of 416 set in September 2020, and came as UK lawmakers debate new legislation that would overhaul asylum rules and impose stricter jail terms for both migrants and people-smugglers.
Growing numbers of migrants – many of them on dangerously overcrowded inflatable boats – have reached the UK since the start of 2020. The crossings typically increase in favourable summer weather.
One dinghy carrying around 50 people, including women and young children, landed on Monday in Kent, with some of them raising their hands in celebration.
Dan O’Mahoney, the Government’s Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, called the rise in crossings “unacceptable” and “dangerous”.
“People should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach and not risk their lives making these dangerous crossings,” he said.
“We are continuing to pursue the criminals behind these illegal crossings.”
Last year, the Government says, roughly 8,500 people arrived in Britain having made the perilous Channel crossing from mainland Europe, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, in small boats.