Migrants brave heatwave as arrivals close to exceeding 15,000 for the year

·3-min read

A newborn baby was among migrants crossing the Channel in scorching temperatures as the number recorded arriving in the UK so far this year neared 15,000.

Large numbers of people, including several young children, braved the heatwave as they were brought ashore in Dover, Kent, on Monday.

A woman was seen shielding a tiny baby, wrapped in a blanket, from the sun while a toddler was carried to safety in a car seat.

Migrant Channel crossing incidents
A woman shields a newborn baby from the sun as migrants arrived in Kent on Monday during the heatwave (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The arrivals marked the 10th consecutive day of crossings – the longest successive run to date in 2022 – as the total number of people who have arrived so far this year edged closer to 15,000.

Some 14,777 people have arrived in the UK so far this year after navigating busy shipping lanes from France in small boats such as dinghies, according to provisional Government figures.

The total for 2022 is anticipated to reach 60,000 – more than double the amount recorded for the whole of 2021 (28,526).

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) recorded 119 people on Saturday in three boats and 154 in four boats on Sunday.

More than 1,600 people made the crossing between July 8 and July 17, with Monday’s numbers yet to be confirmed.

The second longest consecutive period of crossings this year was a nine-day stretch recorded between April 11 and April 19 resulting in 2,143 people arriving in that period.

A young child is carried in a car seat as a group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover
A young child is carried in a car seat as a group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover (Gareth Fuller/PA)

There was a seven-day stretch between June 12 and June 18 when 1,623 people made the crossing.

It comes as MPs warned there was “no evidence” the Government’s plan to send migrants to Rwanda is acting as a deterrent.

A Commons Home Affairs Committee report said crossing numbers had increased since the initial £120 million deal – with an estimated extra cost of £12,000 per migrant – was announced in April but that this may be explained by people smugglers “scaremongering” migrants into making the dangerous 20-mile journey before the policy was operational.

The Government has reportedly put its fresh attempts to get the first deportation flight to the East African nation off the ground on hold until after the Conservative Party has elected a new prime minister over fears it could generate too much controversy during the leadership contest. The plane was grounded in June amid legal challenges and a judicial review over the legality of the policy has been put back to September.

The findings told how migrants were being given flimsy life jackets, which would not save them from drowning, and sent into the water in unseaworthy boats.

MPs also highlighted testimony from Border Force officers who said people traffickers were creating fake families by matching lone migrant children with adult strangers in a bid to increase their chances of being granted asylum in the UK.

A young girls is helped by a military officer in Dover
Several young children were among the large numbers of people brought ashore in Dover on Monday (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Meanwhile the Home Office launched a consultation with the haulage industry over plans to raise the maximum fine of £2,000 for drivers who unknowingly bring migrants into the UK because they did not check their vehicle properly.

A spokesman for the government department said: “There is no one silver bullet to tackle the global migration crisis the world is facing but we must do everything we can to fix the broken asylum system in the UK.

”Our new plan for immigration will bring in the biggest package of reforms in decades, allowing us to support those in genuine need while preventing illegal and dangerous journeys into the UK and breaking the business model of vile people smugglers.”

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