Race to beat UK immigration bill sparks Channel crossings

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In a race to get migrants into the UK before Priti Patel’s new UK immigration bill receives royal assent, people smugglers are ramping up Channel crossings. According to the latest figures, more than 800 migrants have made the perilous 21-mile since Sunday 17 October.  


A report published by the BBC claims that immigration authorities in France have prevented a further 482 migrants from crossing the Channel over the past few days, with a reported 17 vessels intercepting them.

In October alone, approximately 2,500 people have arrived on British shores so far, taking the UK’s overall total for 2021 to 19,533. In 2020, a total of 8,460 migrants reached the UK by crossing the Channel.


Nationality and Borders Bill

Earlier this year, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel passed the Nationality and Borders Bill through the House of Commons in an effort to stem the flow of migrants crossing the Channel.

The bill is set to come into force in 2022 and includes raising the maximum prison sentence for people smugglers from four years to life. The bill is also set to pave the way to create new UK immigration processing centres domestically and overseas.

Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, Dan O’Mahoney, said that the Home Secretary’s new bill could provide long term solutions to those crossing the Channel.

Mr Mahoney said: “The government is determined to tackle the unacceptable rise in dangerous Channel crossings using every tool at our disposal, at every stage in the journey.”

“The government’s New Plan for Immigration provides a long term solution to fix the broken system and deliver the change required to tackle criminal gangs and prevent further loss of life,” Mr Mahoney added.


2,000 migrants waiting in France

Meanwhile, according to a report published by The Telegraph, 2,000 migrants are reportedly waiting on the northern coast of France to make the hazardous journey across the Channel. 

However, professional officer for the Immigration Service Union, Lucy Moreton said that many Channel crossers had been put off by recent adverse weather conditions.

Ms Moreton said: “People smugglers will make use of any fears to try to encourage people to make the crossing and pay more for the crossing.”

Back in July, the UK promised France £54 million to help boost immigration patrols along its beaches.

Meanwhile, the UK government has stated that it is using ‘every tool possible’ to prevent migrant crossings.


Crossing in trucks

However, the government is contending with an ever increasing number of migrants trying to enter Britain illegally. Not only are people arriving in droves by sea, more than 11,000 migrants have been discovered hiding in the back of trucks so far this year. In 2020, more than 18,000 refugees were found in trucks arriving from France.

While truck drivers make every effort to deter migrants from climbing aboard their rigs, there’s little they can do if they are confronted by a gang of people desperate to enter Britain trucker unions have warned. 


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