Rwanda plan 100 days on: 10,000 migrants cross Channel

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Defense Ministry figures suggest the crisis facing migrants crossing the Channel is worsening, despite the government’s controversial Rwanda policy.



<p>More than 10,000 migrants have crossed the English Channel since the UK government announced its Rwanda immigration policy in April.</p><div data-ad-id=
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More than 10,000 migrants have crossed the English Channel since the UK government announced its Rwanda immigration policy in April.

More than 10,000 migrants have crossed the English Channel in the first 100 days since the British government announced its controversial Rwanda plan, at least 25% more than in the same period last year, an analysis by Mazic News can show.

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Activists say Rwanda’s policy, which aims to send migrants to the east African country 4,000 miles away to seek asylum, does not act as a deterrent, arguing it is a waste of taxpayers’ money.

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At least 2,020 more people crossed the English Channel between April and July 2022 compared to the same period in 2021.

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The analysis comes after the Home Affairs Committee concluded last week (July 17) that there was no clear evidence Rwanda’s policy is preventing migrants from crossing the English Channel.

So far no migrants have been sent to Rwanda, but Conservative party leader candidate Liz Truss promised to extend the policy and work with other countries on similar partnerships.

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“A deepening crisis”

The latest figures released weekly by the MoD show that between April 14 and July 24, 10,086 people crossed the English Channel, with 266 small boats identified. The period covers the first 102 days since the policy was announced on April 14th.

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In the last week (July 18-24), 610 people set out in 15 identified small boats.

Between July 1 and July 24 alone, 2,638 people attempted the crossing, with 63 small boats identified.

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Analysis by Mazic News also shows that since the plan was announced, more people have crossed the English Channel than in the same period in previous years.

Weekly figures have only been published since April 14 of this year.

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But monthly figures released by the Home Office last year show that just over 8,000 attempted the crossing between April and July 2021 – a period of 122 days. That was 25% fewer than in the 102 days since the Rwanda policy was announced.

The Channel crossing crisis peaked last year with 78 people attempting to cross each day. A total of 28,526 people made the crossing in 1,034 small boats. Between 2018 and 2021, almost 40,000 people attempted to cross the English Channel in a small boat.

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“Human Cargo”

Andy Hewett, head of advocacy at the refugee council, said “shameful measures” like the Rwanda plan “act in no way as a deterrent.”

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“These cruel and harmful tactics will not work because they do nothing to eliminate the reasons people come in the first place,” he said

“The most effective way to stop dangerous border crossings is to create safer ways for people to get here and a fair and effective asylum system that identifies and helps those in need.”

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The Calais to Dover crossing is around 20 miles long and extremely dangerous. Many people resort to inadequate dinghies or other inflatable boats organized by human traffickers.

Last November, 27 people died after a rubber dinghy sank off the coast of Calais – the largest single death in the English Channel since the UN Migration Agency. The International Organization for Migrationstarted recording data in 2014. Among the fatalities are seven women (one pregnant) and three children.

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Mr Hewett added: “The government must work with France and the EU to share responsibility. Rather than treating people as human cargo by sending them to Rwanda, this government needs to create well thought-out, long-term solutions to address why people are being forced from their homes and provide them with safe routes to the UK.”

Tim Naor Hilton, executive director of Refugee Action, added the government was “wasting” taxpayers’ money on “evil quick schemes”.

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He said: “Ministers’ focus on keeping people out, rather than protecting them, is simply inflating demand for criminal smugglers and ignoring the important reasons refugees come to the UK, such as family and language.

The Ministry of Defense has been asked for comment.

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