More than 1,000 illegal boat migrants have crossed the Channel in small boats and reached British shores since lockdown began on March 23, with people-smugglers taking advantage of the coronavirus to traffic increased amounts of unaccompanied minors.
Breitbart reports, “on Saturday, 90 migrants claiming to hail from Algeria, Libya, Eritrea, Sudan, and Senegal were brought ashore at Dover after crossing the English Channel in small boats from France — a safe, first world country.”
The number of illegal migrants known to have successfully made it to Britain during the lockdown stands at 1,064.
The Immigration Officers’ Union told The Telegraph that the French government has reduced border patrols during the coronavirus crisis in favor of using officers to enforce the French lockdown.
The recent spate of warm weather, calm seas, and reduced shipping traffic in the Channel has led to the increased number of illegal crossings.
This is exclusive footage from Dover earlier today.
Are we really getting the truth on the numbers illegally entering the UK? pic.twitter.com/Sze1CjNE77
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) May 17, 2020
The British government has come under fire for its failure to protect the nation’s borders while imposing a lockdown on its residents. The Home Office was working on a deal with France that would allow British ships to patrol French waters and send back migrants, instead of bringing them ashore in England and allowing them the opportunity to apply for asylum.
However, that was not the case for the 90 migrants on Saturday.
Migration Watch UK, a leading think tank, said: “The biggest incentive for those attempting dangerous Channel crossings is the knowledge that being picked up by a British Border Force vessel or managing to set foot on our soil provides a strong chance of a permanent stay.”
“One way to neutralise this would be UK and French government agreement that anyone intercepted, whether in the Channel or on reaching UK shores, will be returned immediately to France where any application for asylum could be made. Ultimately, it would be in French interests to prevent such departures,” the mass migration sceptic group suggested.