Asylum crossings resume after 11 day break

More than 200 people have crossed the Channel in small boats and arrived in the county after an apparent break of 11 days, it is understood.

BBC News is reporting that witnesses have seen large groups asylum seekers being brought ashore in Dover by UK Border Force officials today.

More than 200 people are believed to have made the crossing into Dover. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is understood to be aware of a number of events still ongoing but would not comment on specific numbers of people arriving.

It took over control of operations involving small boats in the Channel in April, when the Prime Minister also announced controversial plans to send some of those making the journey to Rwanda during a visit to Lydd.

No crossings have been recorded over the past 11 days with conditions in the Channel said to be choppy with strong winds.

Even before the Rwanda deal was announed there were also periods of time – of 16 days and 13 days – where no crossings took place.

Since taking on the new role, the MoD publishes data on the daily number of detected border crossings retrospectively, so today’s official figures will be confirmed tomorrow.

A group of people being brought into Dover on a Border Force vessel following a small boat incident earlier in 2022. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA

A government spokesman said: “The rise in dangerous Channel crossings is unacceptable. Not only are they an overt abuse of our immigration laws but they also impact on the UK taxpayer, risk lives and our ability to help refugees come to the UK via safe and legal routes.

Last Thursday the Government’s controversial Nationality and Borders Bill became law.

Campaigners have called it the ‘anti-refugee Bill’ because it makes it a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in the UK illegally and includes powers to process asylum seekers overseas.

Home Secretary Priti Patel signed an agreement with Rwanda earlier in April which led to criticism, including from the Archbishop of Canterbury during his Easter sermon.

As part of the deal, some asylum seekers arriving in Kent will be sent to the east African nation to have their applications processed.

Priti Patel signed an agreement with Rwanda. Picture: Aaron Chown/PA

Since the start of the year, at least 6,693 people have reached the UK after navigating busy shipping lanes from France in small boats, according to data compiled by Press Association.

That is more than three times the amount recorded this time last year and over six times the figure for the same period in 2020.

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