Migrants arrive in Dover as seven more boats cross English Channel

Another 100 migrants reach Britain today on seven more boats as total reaches 1,830 this year already – nearly the same as for the whole of 2019

  • Search and rescue operation underway for dozens of migrants off the Kent coast
  • Up to eight vessels are involved in what are the first crossings of the month
  • So far this year, 1,730 have crossed the Channel – including a record 741 in May

Around 100 migrants have reached Britain today, pushing the number of arrivals close to the total seen throughout the whole of 2019. 

A group of 12 people are thought to have landed at Samphire Hoe beach near Dover, Kent this morning. 

It means the crossings today could take the number of migrants to have reached Britain already this year to 1,830. 

Up to seven boats carrying young migrants was intercepted at Dover this morning 

Border Force officials lead the men from the boats at Dover today 

The group were brought ashore this morning wearing masks 

It is thought there are up to eight vessels involved in what are the first crossings of the month.

The dawn operation this morning saw several small boats nearly 12 miles off the coast of Dover on the French-British sea border. 

Border Force and RNLI ships picked them up and took them to Dover harbour for processing.

Some of those who arrived at Dover this morning were young men, including one wearing a face mask and life jacket.

There were 741 arrivals in May, a record for a single month.

Some 1,359 migrants have completed the journey since lockdown began in March.

The crossings today will push the year’s total close to the 1,890 who arrived on small boats throughout the whole of 2019.

A French Navy warship also entered British waters today to assist with the ‘handover’

It is thought there are up to eight vessels involved in what are the first crossings of the month

Some of those who arrived at Dover this morning were young men, including one wearing a face mask and life jacket

There were 741 arrivals in May, a record for a single month. Some 1,359 migrants have completed the journey since lockdown began in March

The crossings today will push the year’s total close to the 1,850-odd who landed on small boats throughout the whole of 2019

It comes amid a surge in crossings, with more than 1,600 migrants having reached the UK already this year.  

Almost half of this year’s arrivals have been since the start of lockdown in Britain, with a record 145 on VE Day.

Just 6 per cent this year have been returned to France.

This comes after the Home Secretary instructed Border Force chiefs to examine whether they have legal authority to turn migrant boats around in the Channel – and send them back to France.

If it proves impossible to achieve under current law, she is said to be drawing up plans for specific new legislation allowing UK patrol boats to turn back migrant vessels. 

At present, the border patrol cutters are only allowed to intervene when they see a migrant vessel in danger.

If new laws are required to turn back vessels at sea, the way it will work will inevitably be tied into the UK’s final Brexit negotiations with the European Union. 

The maritime measures being pursued by the Home Office are thought to be conditional on securing the support of the French Government, which Mrs Patel has already raised with her French counterpart Christophe Castaner.

The Home Office is also understood to be looking at simplifying and streamlining the schemes which govern how asylum seekers are housed across the country.

Currently, some of the schemes involve local authorities volunteering to accept asylum seekers – such as the project for unaccompanied children who have claimed refugee status.

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