Several boats of migrants have been seen crossing the English Channel this morning, with one group of migrants cheering “UK” as they headed across the border into Britain
In what has been described as “quite an extraordinary morning” on the English Channel, Ali Fortescue, a Sky News correspondent, encountered four vessels of migrants attempting to cross the channel.
In one encounter, a group of around 10 migrants near the White Cliffs of Dover told Sky News they were originally from Iran.
A previous group of 13 people, who were all huddled aboard a dinghy without life jackets, said that they were migrants from Sudan.
This comes after Border Force patrol vessels in the UK and local lifeboats were involved in the rescue of over 100 migrants in small vessels last week in the English Channel. At least seven rubber dinghies, as well as a kayak, were brought into Dover harbour.
“It really has been quite an extraordinary morning out on the English Channel,” Ali Fortescue said.
“Of course we know this is now a very familiar scene, that doesn’t make it any less unsettling to see.”
“Obviously these are migrants that are absolutely determined to take what is a very, very dangerous journey across the English Channel.”
“We know that, even on a calm day like today, this is the busiest shipping lane in the world. It is a dangerous journey.”
The amount of migrants who have arrived on UK shores in small boats this year has been estimated to have surpassed 4,000 people.
Nearly 600 of these people are thought to have crossed the channel into the country in a large rise of crossings that occurred between Thursday and Sunday.
Chris Philp, the government’s immigration minister, was due to hold talks with French immigration officials in Paris on Tuesday as an attempt to stem the number of crossings.
Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, has condemned the actions of “cruel” criminal gangs who are risking the lives of people by sending them across the English Channel in what could be vessels that are unsuited to sea voyages.
Lisa Doyle, the Refugee Council’s director of advocacy, said: “It’s incredibly disappointing to hear the prime minister using such inaccurate and inflammatory language to describe men, women and children who are desperate enough to make perilous journeys across the busiest shipping channel in the world.”
“Seeking asylum is not a crime, and it is legitimate that people have to cross borders to do so.”
But Minnie Rahman, from the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, said the UK government’s plans “will only serve to put people’s lives at ever graver risk and they make a mockery of protections for refugees”.
She added: “If the government were serious about tackling trafficking, and resolving this situation once and for all, it would open up safe and legal routes of entry to the UK.”
“There are many ways to do so – for example, establishing a claims centre in France and introducing humanitarian visas for people seeking asylum.”
This comes after the biggest shake-up of housing planning in England for decades has caused fury as it moves to fast-track the building of “beautiful” homes that could lead to “slum” living conditions.
The Prime Minister has suggested that leaving the EU would allow the UK to draw up a new set of framework for dealing with migrants, ending the “inflexible and rigid” requirements of the current Dublin Regulations.”
Health minister Edward Argar has said that the Prime Minister wants “greater flexibility in returning people who have come here illegally, who have been through due process and need to be returned back to France”.