Home secretary Priti Patel has repeatedly vowed to make the route across the English Channel “unviable”. But crossings have surged, as almost 600 refugees were intercepted attempting to cross the Channel in three days.
Crossings doubled since 2020
The number of people crossing the Channel has almost doubled compared to the same period in 2020. By the end of May, more than 3,100 had reached the English coast.
The Home Office confirmed that the French authorities intercepted 130 people on Friday 4 June. On the same day, UK authorities stopped 83 people.
This follows 201 people being stopped by Border Force on Thursday 3 June. And on Wednesday and Thursday, the French authorities prevented 171 people from reaching the UK.
This makes a total of 585 attempting to cross the 21-mile stretch of water in just three days.
‘Destined to fail’
Enver Solomon, chief executive of the Refugee Council, said:
This Government’s approach to tackling Channel crossings isn’t working and is destined to fail.
The reality is that when fleeing war, terror and persecution, ordinary people are forced to take extraordinary steps to seek safety in another country.
Instead of relying solely on an enforcement approach to stop the crossings, this Government needs to expand safe routes so that people don’t have to risk their lives taking dangerous journeys at the mercy of criminals and people smugglers.
Creating safe and regular routes to the UK – through an expanded resettlement programme, humanitarian visas and reforming the restrictive family reunion rules – is the way to effectively address the issue.
The home secretary, however, hasn’t acknowledge the need for safe routes.
Patel has called attention to online videos promoting the “lethal crossings”, calling them “totally unacceptable”. She has written to social media firms calling on them to do more to remove such clips.
Patel’s letter, sent on Saturday 5 June, follows a viral video posted on TikTok. The Home Office said the video appeared to show a group of men crossing the Channel in a dinghy.
What these posts don’t mention are the people who have died trying to make this crossing, or those forced to spend 13 hours in unseaworthy boats in freezing waters.
Working with the National Crime Agency, social media companies have made progress in removing these horrendous posts, but they must quickly and proactively remove posts related to illegal crossings before more men, women and children die in the Channel. Now is the time to act before it is too late.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?