June migrant crossings hit highest monthly number for year

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More than 3,000 migrants crossed the Channel to the UK in June – the highest monthly total this year.

Some 3,136 made the crossing on 76 boats in the 30-day period, with journeys taking place on 19 of those days, according to PA news agency analysis of government figures.

It comes two and a half months after Home Secretary Priti Patel announced plans to send migrants to Rwanda in a bid to deter people from making the crossing.

Of the 12,690 people who made the journey in the first half of this year, the second highest month for crossings was 3,074 in March.

After navigating busy shipping lanes from France in small boats such as dinghies, 2,871 made the crossing in May, 2, 143 in April, 1,322 in January and 144 in February, according to Home Office figures for the first quarter of the year and subsequent data collected by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

(PA Graphics)

The highest month on record since 2018 was for 6,971 crossings in November 2021.

The total for 2022 so far is more than five times the amount recorded between January and June 2020 (2,493) and more than double the six-month tally for the first half of last year (5,917).

Crossings continued on Thursday with 94 people arriving in Dover, Kent, in two boats. But a change in the weather saw activity slow on Friday.

On April 14 Ms Patel signed what she described as a “world-first” agreement with Rwanda, which will see the east African nation receive asylum seekers deemed by the UK to have arrived “illegally” and therefore inadmissible under new immigration rules.

But the first deportation flight – due to take off on June 14 – was grounded amid legal challenges.

Migrant Channel crossing incidents
Children were seen being brought ashore in Dover on Thursday (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The figures indicate 51,824 people have made the crossing since 2018.

Home Office figures show 28,526 crossed in 2021, compared with 8,466 in 2020, 1,843 in 2019 and 299 in 2018.

Despite the increasing numbers, the UK’s small boat arrivals are a fraction of the number of people going to Europe.

Data from the UN Refugee Agency shows at least 120,441 people arrived in Europe via the Mediterranean by land and sea in 2021.

Earlier this week it emerged French police had reportedly detained 10 suspects over last year’s Channel disaster in which 27 people died when their dinghy sank as they tried to reach Britain.

Meanwhile the Home Secretary struck a fresh deal with Nigeria, which her department said will do more to tackle “illegal migration” and speed up the “removal of foreign criminals”.

At the same time, the Home Office said 13 people who had “no right to be in the UK” were deported to Nigeria, with a further eight flown to Ghana.

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