September is record month for migrant Channel crossings

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A group of people, thought to be migrants are brought into Dover by Border Force officers on Wednesday after crossing the English Channel.Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
A group of people, thought to be migrants are brought into Dover by Border Force officers on Wednesday after crossing the English Channel

September has become the busiest month on record for migrant Channel crossings.

On Wednesday, 26 people in two boats were picked up up Border Force officers, taking the total number of people to 1,487 for the month so far.

August previously had the highest figure, with 1,468 migrants crossing.

Dan O'Mahoney, Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, said Border Force is continuing to "crack down on the criminal gangs responsible".

Image source, Susan Pilcher
Image caption,
A record number of unaccompanied migrant children arrived in the UK in August

The number of migrants making the journey in small boats has risen dramatically since spring.

In January, 54 people were picked up by Border Force officials.

During April 559 made the crossing, a 10-fold increase and in August the monthly figure trebled again to almost 1,500.

A total of 3,000 people had made the crossing in the year up to July, the total figure for 2020 is now at 6,524.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Earlier in the month more than 400 migrants crossed the English Channel in a single day

Mr O'Mahoney said: "These crossings are facilitated by callous criminals who risk people's lives for money.

"We are working to make this route completely unviable, and today our French counterparts prevented more people from making this crossing.

"We also continue to crack down on the criminal gangs responsible - making 50 arrests so far this year."

On Tuesday, the Home Office returned 14 people - 10 to Germany and four to France. This included nationals from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait and Yemen.

However, according to the Home Office efforts to facilitate legitimate returns are often frustrated by last-minute challenges submitted hours before a scheduled flight.

Even if the claims are without merit, they must be properly considered, which can result in the timing out of a return due to stringent Dublin Regulations.

The EU regulation states that refugees should be considered for asylum in the first safe country they arrive in.

There is a six-month deadline to transfer migrants back to those safe countries.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson previously said this time limit gets "abused by migrants and their lawyers to frustrate the returns of those who have no right to be here".

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