Tuesday, September 28, 2021


Officials warn of ‘unprecedented’ spike in migrant crossings to UK

An “unprecedented” influx of migrants arriving in the UK on dinghies from mainland Europe has raised concern..

By admin , in England , at November 23, 2018

An "unprecedented" influx of migrants arriving in the UK on dinghies from mainland Europe has raised concerns, with one think tank warning some might die as a result.

Eight suspected migrants were intercepted off the Kent coast – the latest in a spate of crossings that has seen at least 86 people picked up in boats over the past two weeks.

The coastguard contacted the Border Force after the latest dinghy was sighted at about 7am near Dover, and the boat was intercepted.

All eight on board were men and said they were Iranian.

Image: The men were spotted off the coast of Kent at about 7am
One of the migrants is escorted at Dover
Image: A tent was set up at the scene

MP for Dover, Charlie Elphicke, called for more government funding to deal with the issue of illegal crossings.

"As winter sets in these people remain determined to break into Britain," he said. "The numbers we're seeing are unprecedented.

"We need to see more vessels patrolling the English Channel – and the government must invest in more cutters and skilled officers at the Dover front line."

Vice chairmain of the Migration Watch UK think tank, Alp Mehmet, said the numbers were high.

"It's just continuing and it's the way they're trying to do it that I think is, for me, an even greater concern because these people are now really seriously jeopardising their lives," he told Sky News. "Sooner or later we're going to have people die, frankly."

Suspected migrants in Channel 0:26
Video: 22 November: 'Migrants' shout for help near Kent

He said it was "sad" that smugglers were making money while people risked their lives on the small vessels.

"What we've got to do is try and make sure they don't leave France or wherever in the first place, and I'm not sure enough is happening to do that at the moment," Mr Mehmet added.

He said "tightened" security in Calais was preventing people crossing on lorries, and that they were resorting to travelling on boats. He said they were even changing routes and departing from Normandy and arriving in Portsmouth.

When asked if there was a "Brexit factor" driving the spike in crossings, Mr Mehmet said people smugglers may have told migrants it could be harder to gain entry to the UK after it leaves the EU.

"The fact is, there's actually no difference between what's happening now and what is likely to happen over the next couple of years," he said. "It's a false way of persuading people to hand over large amounts of money."

He echoed Mr Elphicke's calls for more resources to deal with the problem, saying the UK had up to 13 patrol vessels compared with the 600 Italy has and the 200 or more Greece has.

The former director general of the UK Border Force, Tony Smith, called for smuggling gangs to be "put out of business quickly".

He told Sky News: "It's worrying that it's still ongoing and we haven't been able to put a stop to it. The smugglers aren't going to give up… these crossings are exceptionally dangerous and I'm worried someone is going to perish."

He added: "I don't think this is Brexit-related, this is displacement because we have done such a great job in Calais – the smugglers will try out new routes.

"I don't think many of the migrants will be sent back to France and it will continue to fuel the supply chain."

Over the past two weeks, at least 86 people have been detained after being spotted in boats off Kent – nearly all have said they are Iranian.

Fourteen were rescued from two dinghies off Kent in the early hours of Thursday.

Last Sunday, nine migrants were picked up at Folkestone and the previous Friday, seven others – also believed to be Iranians – were found near Dover.

Two days earlier, three more boats were intercepted off Kent containing a total of 24 people, including a toddler.

The day before that, 14 men and three children – all Iranian – were stopped at Dover trying to reach the UK on a fishing boat.

More from Kent

Responding to the latest arrivals, the Home Office said that "all eight individuals were checked by ambulance staff but were found to be medically well".

"They will now be transferred to immigration officials for interview," it added.

Original Article

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