Migrant crisis: Over 5,500 small boat arrivals this year after another 140 cross today

Migrant crossings

Just before 9am, a Border Force catamaran arrived at the Western Jet Foil in Dover with around 70 people on board

Mark White

By Mark White

Published: 08/04/2024

- 15:12

Updated: 08/04/2024

- 15:18

The number of arrivals in 2024 is around 40 per cent higher compared to this time last year

More than 5,500 small boat migrants have now crossed the English Channel this year, after another 140 made the illegal journey today.

GB News can reveal that Border Force vessels took at least two boat loads of migrants to their main processing centre in Dover harbour, the first small boat loads to arrive this month.

Just before 9am, a Border Force catamaran arrived at the Western Jet Foil in Dover with around 70 people on board.

Weather conditions in the Channel improved overnight after more than seven days of strong winds and waves, which made the crossing impassable.

The previous group of nine small boats arrived with 442 people onboard on 31 March, before conditions began to deteriorate.

Just before 1pm today, the Border Force vessel Volunteer arrived with another 70 migrants, who are believed to have been retrieved from a single small boat.

Today’s arrivals take the total number of small boat migrants who have crossed the English Channel illegally this year to 5,575.

That is almost a thousand more than the 4,670 who crossed at this point last year, around 40 per cent higher than the 2023 figure.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The unacceptable number of people who continue to cross the Channel demonstrates exactly why we must get flights to Rwanda off the ground as soon as possible.

“We continue to work closely with French police who are facing increasing violence and disruption on their beaches as they work tirelessly to prevent these dangerous, illegal and unnecessary journeys.

“We remain committed to building on the successes that saw arrivals drop by more than a third last year, including tougher legislation and agreements with international partners, in order to save lives and stop the boasts.”

Weather conditions are expected to deteriorate again later tonight, closing any window for small boat arrivals for the next few days.

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