The number of migrants making the perilous crossing of the English Channel in makeshift boats to reach the United Kingdom hit a new record high on Sunday — more than 40,000 — according to Britain’s Ministry of Defense.
Government figures show 972 people crossed the English Channel on Saturday in 22 small boats, bringing the year-to-date total to 40,885.
Never before have so many migrants — especially Albanians, Iranians and Afghans — made the perilous crossing. During the whole of last year, 28,526 crossings were recorded, which was already a record at the time.
These rising numbers are putting pressure on the government as the ruling Conservative Party has made tackling immigration a top priority since Brexit and the asylum system is more strained than ever.
Successive Conservative governments have considered a range of options: including abandoning some illegal or unworkable ideas such as forcing boats out of British waters with artificial waves, locking migrants on ocean liners offshore or sending them to remote islands.
The latest plan, announced under Boris Johnson, plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, but this plan has stalled.
The subject is a point of tension with Paris even as the two countries announced in a joint press release on Friday “progress” in finding a new agreement on the issue.
Great Britain would be willing to pay France an additional 91 million euros for police reinforcements on French beaches, while British agents would have access to French control centers.
In the United Kingdom, recent revelations about overcrowded reception centers have sparked controversy in a country where the population is largely in favor of accepting migrants.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman, far right, was also shocked, calling the influx of migrants arriving in the UK an “invasion”, remarks the United Nations described as “appalling”.