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EU Border Agency Reports Increase in Number of Channel Crossings This Year

In light of the increasing instances of illegal immigrant crossings through the English Channel to the UK, the Home Office has pledged to engage in close collaboration with Frontex.

According to Frontex, there has been a surge of over 30 percent in the number of migrants attempting to cross the English Channel to the UK compared to the previous year.

In the first four months of this year, more than 16,300 migrants tried to reach the UK via the Channel route, marking a 34 percent increase from 2023 figures as reported by Frontex.

Frontex noted a 56 percent increase in detections in the first three months of this year, totaling 11,635 individuals compared to the same period last year.

During the initial four months of 2024, the Home Office recorded 7,567 illegal immigrants arriving in the UK via small boats, showing an increase from the 5,946 arrivals during the corresponding period in the previous year.

In February, Frontex and the Home Office entered into an agreement aimed at bolstering border security and management to combat illegal immigration and cross-border crime.

Home Secretary James Cleverly described the collaboration with Frontex as a significant measure in curbing small boat crossings.

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This agreement stemmed from a joint funding plan between France and the UK in March 2023, with the UK committing approximately £476 million over three years.

Prevention Statistics

Regarding the number of individuals prevented from reaching UK shores, the Home Office reported that in 2023, French authorities successfully stopped 26,000 people from crossing.

These prevention figures are considered to be “operational estimates” obtained from the French authorities.

After discussions with the French officials, the government announced last week that they would pause the release of boat interception data “until further notice.” The Home Office confirmed to The Epoch Times that they are now sharing prevention statistics on a weekly basis.

Recent data shows that in the week leading up to May 5, 849 migrants were prevented from crossing the Channel, while 1,409 people successfully arrived in the UK.

During the subsequent week, the Home Office recorded 879 arrivals in small boats and 484 individuals prevented from departing France.

A Home Office spokesperson stated, “We continue to collaborate closely with French law enforcement who are encountering escalating violence and disruption on their beaches as they vigilantly work to prevent these hazardous, illegal, and unnecessary journeys.”

“We are steadfast in our efforts to build on the achievements that led to a more than 30 percent decrease in arrivals last year, including the enactment of stronger laws and partnerships with international allies, all aimed at saving lives and halting the influx of boats,” the spokesperson added.

Rwanda Safety

The government’s Rwanda initiative is designed to serve as a deterrent for illegal immigrants embarking on perilous journeys to reach the UK.

“The alarming number of individuals still crossing the Channel underscores why we must expedite flights to Rwanda,” said the Home Office.

Following a meeting between Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer in Vienna, the UK’s Rwanda scheme garnered further support.

“The leaders concurred that collaborating with designated safe third countries is part of the solution to shield Europe from the repercussions of illegal migration and prevent people from undertaking hazardous journeys—such as the UK’s innovative Rwanda-style model,” stated Downing Street in a release.

However, the government’s Safety of Rwanda policy has faced a legal challenge from the charity Asylum Aid.

Asylum Aid formally filed its legal challenge at the High Court in London, asserting that the Rwanda policy, published in late April, is not in line with the Rwanda bill as it fails to consider the risk of Rwanda deporting individuals to a location where they could face human rights violations.

“We are deeply concerned that unless the guidance is promptly rectified, individuals might be unlawfully sent to Rwanda, breaching the UK’s human rights commitments,” expressed Alison Pickup, Executive Director of Asylum Aid.

The Home Office had agreed to amend certain aspects of the policy related to evaluating an individual’s grounds for why Rwanda may not be a safe nation for them.

PA Media contributed to this report.

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