Babies survive perilous English Channel crossing

At least 7,454 people have arrived in the UK so far this year

Migrants arrive in Dover on Tuesday. Getty Images

A number of babies wrapped in blankets and wearing woollen hats were carried to safety on Friday as the number of migrants arriving via the English Channel in the first week of May reached 761.

It was the fifth successive day of migrant crossings, despite fog and choppy waters in what is one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

A total of 65 migrants were detected in the Channel arriving in two boats on Thursday, 149 in four boats on Tuesday, 293 in nine boats on Monday and 254 in seven boats on Sunday.

No crossings were recorded on Wednesday amid poor weather and the Ministry of Defence has yet to publish official figures for the number of crossings on Friday.

At least 7,454 migrants have arrived in the UK via the Channel so far this year, an analysis of government figures shows, many of them in unseaworthy boats.

The annual total to date is more than triple the tally for this time last year.

People believed to be migrants are brought in to Dover. PA

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the government's plan to send migrants to Rwanda as a “solution” to curbing Channel crossings.

He has said tens of thousands of people could be flown to Rwanda under the agreement with the East African country, but The Times reported that modelling by Home Office officials indicated that only 300 a year could be sent there.

Asked about the forecast, the department said it does not recognise the figure and that there is no cap on the number of people who can be sent to Rwanda.

“The entire government is united in our efforts to prevent lethal crossings, save lives and disrupt illegal migration,” a spokesman said.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has described the Rwanda deal as a “world-first” agreement.

It has been widely criticised by humanitarian groups and is facing a number of legal challenges.

The deal will send Rwanda asylum seekers deemed to be inadmissible, having arrived “illegally” under new immigration rules.

But flights carrying migrants to the East African country may not leave for months, Downing Street said.

Mr Johnson initially said asylum seekers would be flown to Rwanda on a one-way ticket.

He said the number of migrants sent to Rwanda will not be capped and that those sent there would be able to “build a new life in that dynamic country”.

Updated: May 06, 2022, 9:23 PM
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