Starmer Has a Tough Job As Immigration Hits Record Level

The UK saw the highest number of migrants crossing the English Channel into the UK this year, raising concerns and criticisms from government opposition.

400 in One Day

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According to figures from the Home Office, more than 400 migrants successfully crossed the Channel by boat to reach the UK on March 31st.

40,000 Under Sunak

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This sets the record so far for Channel crossings in 2024 and brings the number of attempted migrant crossings under Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government to 40,000. 

Considerable Numbers Each Year

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So far, 2,983 people have reached the UK by boat. These numbers are only slightly higher than numbers from the same time last year, which were recorded at 2,953, and in 2022.

Overcrowded Boats Head to Kent

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The 400 were transported via seven boats. Footage from Monday showed what appeared to be atleast 20 people huddled together on a small dinghy where they made their way to the Port of Dover in Kent.

Transported to Migrant Centers

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The boats were met by Border Force vessels, who transported the asylum seekers to migrant processing centers. The groups were made up of men, women, and children.

Over 700 in 48 Hours

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The day before, on Sunday, 327 migrants crossed the Channel in 8 boats, bringing the total to 728 people in 48 hours. 

Criticisms Aimed at the Government

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the Conservative Party have faced significant criticisms pertaining to illegal migration since coming into power in 2022.

“Stop the Boats” Pledge

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In his first major speech of 2023, Sunak made a pledge to “stop the boats” coming to the UK via the Channel. He told supporters “We will pass new laws to stop small boats, making sure that if you come to this country illegally, you are detained and swiftly removed.” 

Oppositions Speaks Out

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But critics maintain that Conservatives have failed in their promise. “This is the Prime Minister who promised the British people he would stop the boats, but has now seen more than 40,000 arrivals on his watch,” said Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper.

Is the Strategy Working?

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“This is the Prime Minister who said his strategy was working, yet is presiding over the busiest start to a year on record in terms of Channel crossings,” Cooper continued. 

“The PM Is Focused on Progress”

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While the PM did not respond directly to comments or questions around his “stop the boats” pledge, a spokesperson told reporters that “The PM is focused on making further progress to reducing small boat crossings.”

French Cooperation

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Number 10 also pointed to ongoing cooperation with French authorities to reduce crossing numbers, which they claim has prevented up to 26,000 in 2023 alone.

Helping Further Upstream

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Home Secretary James Cleverly claimed that France is “absolutely committed to help us stop the boats” and added that “The best way of doing that isn’t just in the north-west coast of France. Helping our European friends deal with some of these upstream problems helps them help us on the Channel.”

Ongoing Problems

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Of course, these crossings have been occurring at significant rates since before Sunak was elected. The Home Office has recorded more than 100,000 immigrants entering the country via the English Channel in the last five years. 

A Perilous Crossing

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The crossing is a perilous one. On the same record-high day, the French Coastguard had to rescue 63 migrants from a capsized dinghy. On Sunday, another severely overcrowded boat capsized soon after launching from the coast of Northern France.

Tragedy Strikes

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A seven-year-old girl drowned during the rescue, and her parents were taken to a Dunkirk hospital. In a statement from France’s Nord department, they claimed that the boat was “apparently stolen” and “was not appropriately sized to carry so many people.”

Worth the Risk?

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Despite the child’s death, record numbers of asylum seekers still set off in unfit vessels on Monday. For many of them, risking harm or even death is worth it to start a new life in the UK.

Fleeing Difficult Situations

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Many of these people are fleeing countries that are wartorn, or increasingly economically and politically unstable. Others are part of minority groups that face persecution due to their religious beliefs, sexuality, or ethnicity.

Specific Regions

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These asylum seekers tend to come from the Middle East, Northern Africa, and Central Asia. 

“The Bottom Line”

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When questioned about the tragic accident involving the seven-year-old, Cleverly told reporters that “the bottom line is that the people-smugglers are proving themselves to be more and more careless with human lives.”

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The post Starmer Has a Tough Job As Immigration Hits Record Level first appeared on Edge Media.

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