Nine boats carrying dozens of migrants were intercepted, according to Sky News.
Britain deports very few illegal migrants even though France – where most come from – is considered as a safe country, because of onerous EU asylum regulations. Anti-immigration politician Nigel Farage has demanded that authorities “stand up to the EU and to France” to bring the Channel migrant crisis under control.
Charlie Elphicke, MP for the Dover and Deal constituency which is currently on the frontline of the crisis, warned the government to deal with the numbers swiftly.
“If confirmed this would be a record number of boats arriving in a single day. This crisis was meant to have been dealt with at Christmas, yet numbers continue to rise,” he tweeted.
Elphicke alluded to Home Secretary Sajid Javid’s failed promises after a “major incident” in the Channel as the number of boats had increased over Christmas. Javid has so far resisted calls to deploy more Border Force cutters to patrol the Channel, suggesting that, paradoxically, this would incentivise more migrants to launch themselves across the sea.
“It looks set to surge to record levels through the Summer. The Home Office needs to get a grip on this crisis,” Elphicke said.
The MP warned that the Channel crisis was “about much more than simply border security”, underscoring the “the exploitation of vulnerable people by criminal trafficking gangs”.
He said British and French authorities must crack down on the human traffickers to avert “a tragedy in the middle of the English Channel resulting in loss of life”.
But the numbers involved in crossing the Channel are a relatively small proportion of clandestine entrants, as tens of thousands continue to break into trucks, ferries, or use the Channel Tunnel in order to enter into the UK illegally.
Fewer than one bogus asylum seeker in ten arriving in the UK from the EU is transferred back, even though the Dublin III regulations allow EU member-states to deport asylum seekers if they have already passed through another EU country.
Migrants can only be transferred back to the first EU member-state they arrived in, which is generally impossible to determine if they have not previously been registered or refuse provide such evidence.