Revealed: Number of migrants making Channel crossing in small boats

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TOPSHOT - A British police officer stands guard on the beach of Dungeness, on the southeast coast of England, on June 15, 2022, as Royal National Lifeboat Institution's (RNLI) members of staff help migrants to disembark from one of their lifeboat after they were picked up at sea while attempting to cross the English Channel. - Furious Conservatives called on Britain's government on June 15, 2022 to abandon a European human rights pact after a judge dramatically blocked its plan to fly asylum-seekers to Rwanda. Under the UK's agreement with Rwanda, all migrants arriving illegally in Britain are liable to be sent to the East African nation thousands of miles away for processing and settlement. The government, after arguing that Brexit would lead to tighter borders, says the plan is needed to deter record numbers of migrants from making the perilous Channel crossing from northern France. (Photo by Ben Stansall / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
Migrants disembark from an RNLI lifeboat in Dungeness, Kent. (Getty)

Some 5,445 migrants have been detected arriving in the UK on small boats since the announcement of deportation flights to Rwanda, according to analysis by Yahoo News UK.

These arrivals were picked up in the two months between 14 April, when the policy was announced, and Tuesday, 14 June.

It comes after the first flight to take asylum seekers to Rwanda did not take off as scheduled on Tuesday after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) issued last-minute injunctions to stop the deportations.

In total, seven passengers were due to be on the plane to east Africa.

Read more: Priti Patel And Yvette Cooper In Furious Commons Clash Over Blocked Rwanda Flight

Migrants detected crossing the Channel in small boats. (MoD)
Migrants detected crossing the Channel in small boats. (MoD)

The High Court in London is due to hold this judicial review in July to decide on the scheme's legality.

Since the policy was announced, there have been three days where more than 300 migrants have been intercepted after arriving in the UK.

Tuesday saw the second-highest number of migrants detected crossing since the April announcement, with 444 people intercepted by the Ministry of Defence.

The highest number was recorded on 14 April, with 562 people intercepted.

There have been several days with zero crossings due to poor weather, with the longest span of no people being detected from 20 April to 30 April.

On Wednesday, 150 more people were brought ashore in Dover as low winds created ideal weather conditions for Channel crossing attempts.

Watch: How did the European Court of Human Rights stop the Rwanda flights?

DOVER, ENGLAND -JUNE 7: Border Force Typhoon bring Migrants ashore at Dover Docks this morning that had been rescue mid channel at Dungeness, in Dover, England on June 7, 2022. Border Force and the military were there to assist the Migrants trying to reach the UK. (Photo by Stuart Brock/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Migrants were brought ashore at Dover Docks. (Getty)

When home secretary Priti Patel first announced the policy, she said it would "deal a major blow to the evil people smugglers" and "deter illegal entry".

She said: “This agreement illustrates that we can no longer accept the status quo.

“People are dying and the global migration crisis requires new ways to find new partnerships and to find new solutions.

“It will deal a major blow to the evil people smugglers.

"We know this will not be easy, we know that we will face challenges along the way, but together with the Nationality and Borders Bill, and the New Plan for Immigration, the UK will support those fleeing oppression, persecution, and tyranny through safe and legal routes, while controlling our borders and deterring illegal entry.”

Read more: What happens next after first Rwanda deportation flight grounded?

AMESBURY, WILTSHIRE - JUNE 14: The grounded Rwanda deportation flight EC-LZO Boeing 767 at Boscombe Down Air Base, on June 14, 2022 in Boscombe Down. The flight taking asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda has been grounded at the last minute after intervention of the European Court of Human Rights. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
The grounded Rwanda deportation flight at Boscombe Down Air Base. (Getty)

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper branded the Rwanda policy “government by gimmick” and a “shambles that is putting our country to shame”.

In the Commons on Wednesday, she asked Patel to give more details on the deal she made with Rwanda, how much she promised it for each of the people sent, and how many Rwandan refugees the UK would take in return.

Cooper said: “She knows this is unworkable, unethical and won’t stop the criminal gangs but yet she still went ahead and spent half a million pounds chartering a plane she never expected to fly."

Patel has insisted the government will press ahead with its plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda despite the 11th-hour legal ruling by the ECHR which halted the first departure.

The home secretary said she was surprised by the European court’s intervention, overruling domestic judicial decisions, but told MPs it was “inevitable” there would be legal challenges to the government’s policy.

Patel and Boris Johnson have repeatedly hit out at the lawyers bringing legal challenges against the government and the groups and MPs supporting them.

Downing Street has not ruled out taking the drastic step of withdrawing from the ECHR and said the government would do “whatever it takes” to ensure relocation flights to Rwanda go ahead.

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