Migrant crossings: Record day for crossings – but how many have crossed in 2021?

Eustice grilled on 'irony' of French letting migrants cross channel

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Migrant crossings are of huge concern to many, particularly in the wake of several deaths which have been reported this week as a result of treacherous sea conditions. The number of crossings reported in 2021 is now nearing triple that reported in 2020, despite the UK agreeing to pay $54m to help France implement more stringent security measures to prevent migrant crossings.

A person has died after attempting to cross the Channel to reach Britain, French authorities confirmed today.

The Maritime Prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea said one person was found dead on the beach of Wissant, near Calais, on Thursday morning after the discovery of a boat filled with water.

Two others, both suffering from hypothermia, were also found and treated by emergency officers before being taken to a local hospital.

The death on Thursday comes after reports an unconscious person was pulled from the water while attempting the perilous crossing on Wednesday – later being pronounced dead by rescuers.

A record 853 migrants reached the UK on Wednesday, according to statistics.

This surpassed the previous highest daily figure of 828 – reported on August 21 of this year.

French officials said they prevented a further 975 migrants from reaching the UK between Tuesday and Thursday of this week – indicating the rise in migrant crossings this year.

Had these 978 attempted crossings been undertaken, there would have been a total of 2,284 crossings attempted this week, despite the bone-chilling temperatures.

How many migrants have crossed in 2021?

So far in November, 1,309 migrants have reached the UK from abroad.

This brings the annual total for 2021 so far to 21,051, which is a massive increase from the 8,417 reported across all of 2020.

Last month, the Home Office said almost 300 arrests and 65 convictions have been made related to small boat crossings so far in 2021.

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Home Secretary Priti Patel vowed to make migrant crossings a priority in 2019.

She said she intended to ensure they became an “infrequent phenomenon” by spring 2020, however, this has been far from the case.

Last August, Ms Patel readdressed the issue – saying she wanted to “make this route unviable” for migrants looking to cross the Channel.

Since that time, the UK Government has pledged to pay France millions of pounds to help the nation step up its security efforts along its northern coast.

In July, a £54m deal was agreed between the UK and France which would see the latter double the number of police patrols.

The soaring number of crossings has prompted Amnesty International UK and over charities to call for an overhaul of the nation’s asylum system.

Amnesty International UK’s chief executive Sacha Deshmukh said: “We need to remember that these dangerous crossings are taking place because the government has provided no safe alternative for people to exercise their right to seek asylum here.”

Other refugee experts have called for action and said the fact journeys are being made in the cold weather demonstrates their increasingly desperate plight in France.

Bridget Chapman, a case worker at Kent Refugee Action Network, told The Guardian: “It was a cold but calm day to cross the Channel, followed by bad weather.

“We also hear that the conditions in Calais for people living rough are getting worse – French police beat young men and break up roadside encampments.”

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