In 2022, a record year, 45,000 people managed to cross, despite the dangers they faced in the Pas-de-Calais Strait
Determined to put an end to the irregular arrivals of immigrants through the English Channel, says Mr Rishi Sunak. Britain’s prime minister has spoken of a “tragedy” after a boat capsized in the English Channel that killed six migrants, blaming the “gangs” of traffickers and declaring his determination to put an end to the arrivals of irregular migrants through this very dangerous route.
“This is obviously a terrible tragedy and (the prime minister’s) thoughts go out first and foremost to the families and friends of those who lost their lives,” spokesman Rishi Sunak told reporters.
“It is a stark reminder of the dangers of these crossings and the vital importance of breaking up these criminal gangs,” he added, adding that “it is right for the government to act urgently” to put an end to these arrivals.
He said that London is working together with France to use “all the necessary levers” so as to prevent irregular crossings to England.
Six Afghans, whose identification is ongoing, died on Saturday when a boat carrying at least 60 migrants from the northern coast of France to the south of England sank.
Rishi Sunak’s Conservative government has prioritized the fight against illegal crossings of the Channel by small boats, which have risen sharply in the past five years.
In 2022, a record year, 45,000 people managed to make the crossing, despite the dangers they encountered in the Pas-de-Calais strait, one of the busiest in the world, and the death in November 2021 of at least 27 migrants in the deadliest shipwreck on record in the region.
The trend has been declining since the beginning of the year, which the British government attributes to the effects of its controversial policy to discourage arrivals, along with very harsh anti-immigration rhetoric.
Flagship measure, a new law that has also been denounced by the UN, henceforth bans migrants who arrive irregularly on British soil from seeking asylum in the UK. The law envisages deporting them to their own country or to third countries such as Rwanda, a plan currently blocked by the judiciary.
For their part, refugee defense organizations are calling for them to be created legal and safe ways so that migrants can reach British soil without risking their lives.
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