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Hundreds of Migrants Cross the Channel Over Easter Weekend, Exceeding 5,000 This Year

Over the Easter weekend, nearly 800 migrants successfully crossed the English Channel, pushing the total number of crossings for the year past 5,000. These escalating figures are adding more pressure on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s promise to “stop the boats,” as record numbers continue to embark on the perilous journey in dinghies during the first quarter of the year.

Data from the Home Office revealed that 349 individuals arrived in seven boats on Saturday, followed by another 442 in nine boats on Easter Sunday. This surge brought the total number of migrants crossing over the weekend to 791, contributing to a staggering total of 5,435 for the year.

Border Force catamarans, Ranger and Defender, were observed bringing numerous individuals to the shores of the Port of Dover on Easter Saturday. Among them, a group wearing red life jackets was escorted off the boat and directed towards the immigration processing center at the former jetfoil terminal at the Western Docks.

French authorities also rescued 55 individuals after an inflatable vessel encountered difficulties off the coast at Dunkirk. Additionally, 20 migrants were intercepted in Calais, while a sailing boat carrying three individuals was reportedly stolen and intercepted on the same day.

In March alone, over 2,000 migrants have been brought ashore, with many intercepted by Border Force patrols during the dangerous 21-mile crossing of the Dover Straits.

The Home Office emphasized the urgency of implementing flights to Rwanda, citing the increasing violence and disruption faced by French police on their beaches as they combat illegal crossings. The department remains committed to bolstering existing strategies to mitigate risks, save lives, and prevent further illegal crossings.

However, a setback occurred as key legislation to send small boat arrivals to Rwanda was not passed before Easter. This delay followed a series of defeats inflicted by peers on the government, delaying parliamentary approval until April 15.

With concerns mounting over the safety and security of migrants undertaking these perilous journeys, Shadow Immigration Minister Stephen Kinnock called for immediate action, criticizing the government’s response and urging stronger measures to address the escalating crisis.

The escalating number of Channel crossings underscores the ongoing challenges faced by authorities in managing migration flows and underscores the need for comprehensive and effective strategies to address the underlying causes and risks associated with irregular migration.

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