More than 1,000 migrants crossed the Channel in the last 10 days (Picture: AFP) More than 1,000 migrants have crossed the English Channel in just 10 days.
An analysis revealed 1,004 people squeezed into dozens of small boats and braved the dangerous conditions to get to the UK between August 4 and 13.
The latest burst brings the total this year to at least 4,511 – more than double the number of migrants who crossed in 2019.
Another 89 arrivals reached Britain’s shores on Thursday, while a further 48 made the crossing on Friday.
Border Force officials are seen carrying a baby who crossed the Channel in a small boat (Picture: AFP) The migrants mainly arrive from France, and witnesses have been shocked when they see people making the journey – with Border Force officers seen escorting heavily-pregnant women and even babies off the small boats.
The Government is under increasing pressure to bring the surge under control amid criticism from Labour and human rights campaigners its handling of the situation ‘lacks competence and compassion’.
As part of a get-tough approach, the Ministry of Defence this week sent in RAF planes to help officials on the water better spot emerging Channel attempts.
It comes as Home Secretary Priti Patel appointed a former Royal Marine to the role of ‘clandestine Channel threat commander’, building on her ambition to make the Channel route ‘completely unviable’ for migrants in dinghies.
Migrants are rescued from the Channel (Picture: AFP) The approach drew criticism from the French side, with Calais mayor Natacha Bouchart telling reporters the use of the Navy was ‘a declaration of maritime war’.
Human rights groups have also labelled the strategy ‘cruel, dangerous and unnecessary’.
They have insisted migrants wouldn’t risk their lives to come to the UK if the Government provided a safe and legal route.
Detention Action director Bella Sankey said the approach seemed overblown given some of the migrants were too young to walk.
The Home Office is getting tough after a record number of migrants crossed the Channel (Picture: Getty Images) She said: ‘The mishandling of this situation continues and now the Home Secretary is nakedly playing politics with people’s lives and the UK’s proud tradition of providing refugee protection.’ Refugee Action chief executive Stephen Hale said ‘aggressive hostility’ to people seeking asylum is ‘making a difficult situation much worse’, .
Adding: ‘Britain is better than this’
However, Channel threat commander Dan O’Mahoney repeated warnings the crossings were ‘dangerous and unnecessary’.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected]
For more stories like this, check our news page.