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The UK has seen a record number of migrants in a single day cross the Channel this week as the government struggles to implement a program to send illegal immigrants to Rwanda.

British media reported that 1,295 migrants crossed the canal from Europe in small boats, a daily record. The BBC reported that it meant 22,557 migrants have crossed over since the beginning of the year.

Illegal immigrants typically entered the UK by jumping on the back of trucks as they crossed from Calais, France, to Dover, by ferry or via the Channel Tunnel.

However, the number of immigrants crossing the Channel in small boats has increased dramatically after 2018. According to UK government figures, only 299 illegal immigrants were caught stumbling upon small boats in 2018. By 2021 that number had risen to 28,526.


August 23, 2022: Border forces escorted 100 migrants to Dover on August 23, 2022, after being picked up in the English Channel. Border Force and Army officials assisted migrants ashore at Dover Docks in Dover, UK.
((Photo by Stuart Brock / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images))

Illegal immigrants are mostly from countries away from the UK and have moved through multiple safe countries to get to Blighty.

Official data show that since 2018 Iranians and Iraqis account for half of all arrivals by small boats, followed by migrants from Eritrea, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Vietnam and then Albania. However, this year Albanians are now tied to Afghans as the nation with the largest number of people arriving by small boats, each making up 18% of the total. Additionally, around 2,165 Albanians arrived in Britain via this route in the first six months of 2022.

The British government, led by Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has repeatedly pledged to crack down on illegal immigration, but has struggled to deliver on its promises.

Earlier this year, Johnson’s government announced a deal with Rwanda that would instead see illegal immigrants being sent there, a move that sparked outrage from British and UN left-wing politicians.


The deal was similar in some respects to the Trump administration’s efforts in the United States to implement “safe third country” agreements that would see migrants sent there instead. Such agreements are designed to stop those who use asylum applications as a cover to cover economy-led migration.

Johnson said in a speech that the move was made possible by Britain’s exit from the European Unionwhich gave Britain more control over its immigration policies.

“This innovative approach, driven by our shared humanitarian impulse and made possible by the freedoms of Brexit, will provide safe and legal pathways to asylum, disrupting the business model of gangs, because it means that economic migrants who take advantage of the asylum system do not they will arrive stay in the UK, ā€¯Johnson said. “While those who really need it will be adequately protected, even with access to legal services, upon arrival in Rwanda and will have the opportunity to build a new life in that dynamic country supported by the funding we are providing.”

A group of people, believed to be migrants, walk ashore in Dungeness, Kent, following an accident in a small boat in the English Channel on 25 August 2022.

A group of people, believed to be migrants, walk ashore in Dungeness, Kent, following an accident in a small boat in the English Channel on 25 August 2022.
(Photo by Gareth Fuller / PA Images via Getty Images)

Johnson said seven out of 10 migrants who arrived in small boats were men under the age of 40 and passed through “manifestly safe countries, including many in Europe where they could and should have sought asylum.”

However, the first flight in June was blocked after the European Court of Human Rights, separated from the European Union, from which the United Kingdom departed, issued an injunction.

Flights have since been suspended amid the ongoing legal challenge with objections centering on alleged human rights issues related to sending migrants to the East African country.


The Guardian reported Thursday that the Home Office is planning a new deportation flight ahead of the UK High Court hearing on the matter next month. The UK also announced a new plan this week to “speed up” the deportations of Albanians out of the country.

“A large number of Albanians are being sold with lies by ruthless human traffickers and ferocious organized crime gangs, leading them to undertake treacherous voyages on fragile boats in the UK,” Interior Minister Priti Patel said in a statement. . “This abuse of our immigration system and of people who risk their lives cannot continue.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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