Hundreds of Illegal Migrants Reach British Shores, Rebuts Patel’s ‘Working’ Rwanda Plan

Migrants are back to the boat game as more than 250 of them crossed the English Channel this morning, claiming an early triumph for the government’s new initiative to transfer asylum seekers to Rwanda.

The United Kingdom’s plan to dissuade illegal migrants by sending asylum applicants to Rwanda looks to be at risk, as channel crossings resume following an 11-day hiatus due to inclement weather.

At about 12.30 a.m., UK authorities, including a Border Force vessel, guided seven small boats carrying men, women, and children into Dover Harbour, Kent.

The migrant relocation plan, which has yet to begin in earnest, was already on shaky ground, with many activist lawyers pledging to fight it in court and civil servants threatening to walk out of their jobs with the aim of forcing a government reversal on the policy.

It comes as part of a new plan to deal with Channel migrants, which saw the military take responsibility for attempts to block crossings in Kent with a combined task force made up of the Navy, Army, and Air Force.

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen stated this week that the decrease to zero shows that Home Secretary Priti Patel’s plan to send asylum seekers 4,000 kilometres to Rwanda to claim refugee status is ‘working already.’

The contentious arrangement with the East African country, which would see it accept asylum seekers deemed ‘illegally’ arrived and so inadmissible under new immigration regulations by the UK, was signed on April 14.

‘Priti’s migrant strategy is already working,’ tweeted Mr Bridgen, the MP for North West Leicestershire. For a week, there will be no unlawful migrant crossings and no cash for people traffickers, allowing public workers to focus on refugees from Ukraine. We should give existing illegal migrants the choice of returning to France or moving to Rwanda.’

But former Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage told GB News: ‘There are some saying Rwanda is working, it’s a success because virtually no migrants have come now for the last six or seven days. Believe you me, I know this subject.

‘That is nothing to do with the prospect of being shipped off to Rwanda. It’s because there has been a persistent, strong, north-easterly wind in the English Channel. When it gets calm again, the boats will continue to come.’

After the Armed Forces acquired control of the Channel, the Navy assumed responsibility for stopping migrant boats, deploying up to 300 military personnel, Navy ships, and surveillance drones.

The helicopter is being aided by RAF drones operated out of Lydd Airport in Kent. Soldiers and airmen are also now being based at Dover to help UK Border Force staff with initial processing, and the military is able to issue directions to the civilian staff of the UK Border Force.

More than 6,500 migrants are thought to have arrived in the UK this year so far after crossing the Channel. In 2021 some 28,526 migrants reached UK shores aboard dinghies and small boats – up from 8,417 in 2020.

The total number of migrants arriving so far this month has been 2,143 across 58 small boats, although the final day of arrivals to the present date was on April 19 when 263 were intercepted across seven small boats.  

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