June 20, 2024

New record number: More than 10,000 migrants cross English Channel to Great Britain

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More than 10,000 migrants have crossed the English Channel into Britain

More than 10,000 migrants have crossed the English Channel from France to Great Britain in small boats this year – a new record number. On Friday alone, five boats with 288 people reached the south coast of England, according to Home Office figures released on Saturday. That means a total of 10,170 people have made the dangerous crossing since the start of the year, which is 35 percent more than the same period last year. Many of the immigrants are from Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey.

For Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his conservative government, migration policy is a key electoral issue ahead of the July 4 general election. At the end of April, the British Parliament approved a controversial plan to deport migrants to Rwanda. It allows people who entered the country irregularly to be deported to the East African country without their origin or their asylum application being investigated beforehand. For this reason, Rwanda is classified as a safe third country.

The government views its deportation law as a deterrent and actually intends to deport 5,700 people to Rwanda by the end of the year. On Wednesday, Sunak announced July 4 as the date for a general election – the controversial deportation plan cannot be implemented by then. The opposition Labor Party, which is leading the conservative Tories in opinion polls, wants to overturn the law if it wins the election.

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