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Border Force official carries screaming boy to safety after packed migrant boat is intercepted

A group of migrants including a toddler and an elderly woman has landed on the Kent coastline as the warm weather encourages people smugglers to send out more boats.

A sobbing child was picked out of a boat by a Border Force official after a few dozen migrants were brought to the shoreline on Saturday morning.

And a man raised his hands and made two peace signs as the boat arrived in British waters following a treacherous journey in windy conditions across the English Channel.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) was photographed helping more asylum seekers ashore in Kent as an dinghy filled with people landed on a Kent beach.  

It means the number of migrants detained by Border Force crossing the Channel by small boats has now increased from 16,299 this year – nearly double the number who arrived in the whole of 2020. 

Official Home Office statistics show 3,872 have arrived in 113 incidents so far this month – breaking the 3,509 who made the dangerous journey in 117 boats in July.

In 2020 there were a total of 8,410 were detained in small boat incidents.

A sobbing child was picked out of a boat by a Border Force official after a few dozen migrants were brought to the shoreline on Saturday morning 

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, by Border Force officers, following a small boat incident in the Channel

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, by Border Force officers, following a small boat incident in the Channel

A woman is escorted to land by a Border Force official as more migrants landed in the UK following a small boat incident in the English Channel

A woman is escorted to land by a Border Force official as more migrants landed in the UK following a small boat incident in the English Channel

A man raised his hands and made two peace signs as the boat arrived in British waters following a treacherous journey in windy conditions across the English Channel

A man raised his hands and made two peace signs as the boat arrived in British waters following a treacherous journey in windy conditions across the English Channel

People smugglers took advantage of the last days of warm weather to send migrants into the English Channel. Pictured, the RNLI helped migrants onto a Kent beach

People smugglers took advantage of the last days of warm weather to send migrants into the English Channel. Pictured, the RNLI helped migrants onto a Kent beach 

The migrants smiled as they landed on the Kent beach, after enduring a perilous crossing

The migrants smiled as they landed on the Kent beach, after enduring a perilous crossing 

Pictured: A graph showing the number of migrants crossing the Channel on small boats since 2019. The figure has increased each year and reached 16,299 so far in 2021

Pictured: A graph showing the number of migrants crossing the Channel on small boats since 2019. The figure has increased each year and reached 16,299 so far in 2021

MIGRANT CROSSINGS: HIGHEST SINGLE-DAY CROSSINGS IN THE LAST TWO YEARS

At least 495 migrants crossed to the UK on small boats on Wednesday brought the year’s total to 16,299. 

Here’s a list of the highest recorded single-day crossings in the last two years:   

September 2, 2020: 416 people reach the UK

A wave of boats departed France with hundreds of migrants making their way across the sunny and calm English Channel.

In the House of Commons Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced questions over the Government’s handling of the issue of small boat crossings.

August 6, 2020: 235 people reach the UK

Migrants arrived in the UK aboard 17 boats in what was then the highest numbers on record.

In one incident, Border Force apprehended 15 people who had landed at Dungeness beach in Kent. 

July 19, 2021: 430 people reach the UK

Dozens of people, including women and young children, were seen walking ashore after one beach landing on the Kent coast, while more arrived elsewhere.

Some raised their hands in celebration as they stood on the beach, while others sat down on the shingle shoreline amid 75F sunshine.

The Home Office said that overall at least 430 people arrived in various places after travelling aboard 14 boats.

August 21, 2021: 828 people reach the UK

The number of arrivals hits a new record, as President Emmanuel Macron warns there was a risk a wave of migrants would sweep towards Europe due to the turmoil in Afghanistan. 

September 6, 2021: 1,000 people reach the UK 

The new record was based on sightings from witnesses and reported by Sky News.  

September 23, 2021: 495 people reach the UK 

At least 495 migrants arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel on Wednesday in 14 separate incidents. 

The arrivals made September the busiest month of the year for crossings and pushed 2021’s total to 16,299 – more than double the number in the whole of 2020.  

Dan O’Mahoney, Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, said on Wednesday: ‘The Government is determined to tackle the unacceptable rise in dangerous Channel crossings using every tool at our disposal, at every stage in the journey.

‘Working with police and international partners there have been nearly 300 arrests, 65 convictions related to small boat criminality and our targeted efforts have prevented more than 12,000 migrant attempts. But this is a complicated issue requiring changes to our laws. 

‘The government’s New Plan for Immigration provides the only long term solution to fix the broken system and deliver the change required to tackle criminal gangs and prevent further loss of life.’

On Wednesday Border Force catamaran Hurricane docked around 9.30am with about 50 people on board.

The first family to disembark consisted of a woman carrying possessions in a clear plastic bag, a man wearing a woolly hat and three young boys wrapped up in winter coats.

They were followed up the gangway for processing by a little girl aged around seven with two women and a man all wearing orange lifejackets.

A further five women were also on board alongside the remaining Middle Eastern men.

The RNLI Dover Lifeboat docked around 11am with around 30 migrants on board – including a man with his long hair tied in a bun wearing a bright blue jacket, sunglasses and a shoulder bag.

A little boy wearing a stripy beanie hat was followed by his mum, who was one of around a dozen women in the group.

Onlookers monitoring activity in the Channel off the Kent coast predict it will be a busy day of crossings with people smugglers taking advantage of warm weather and calm seas.

Another 30 landed on a lifeboat at Dungeness. 

It comes after UK authorities had to rescue or intercept 134 migrants in 5 boats on Tuesday. And the French intercepted at least 60 people from 3 events, according to the Home Office.

Meanwhile, the Home Office’s top mandarin admitted Priti Patel’s ‘pushback’ tactics for Channel migrants will only be used on a ‘small proportion’ of boats.

During tetchy clashes with MPs, Matthew Rycroft dodged saying when the policy would be put in place, or even categorically that it will be.

However, he insisted there was a ‘legal base’ for the manoeuvre to be carried out in ‘certain limited circumstances’.

France previously responded with fury after Priti Patel ordered the tactic to be developed amid mounting alarm at the numbers attempting the Channel crossing.

Experts also questioned how it could be used without either sinking the unstable boats and risking passengers dying, or breaking maritime law.   

Giving evidence to the Commons Home Affairs Committee, Mr Rycroft said Border Force officers had been ‘preparing and trialling’ the ‘new maritime tactic’.  

However, he confirmed it had ‘not been deployed yet’ and this would only happen when ‘all of the circumstances are in place to allow them to be deployed in a safe and legal way’.

Asked roughly what proportion of the crossings in the past six months would have met the circumstances to legally push back boats, he said a ‘small proportion’, later conceding it would be nearer 1 per cent than 49 per cent but adding: ‘I’m not going to give a number… I’m not going to go further down that …’   

A group of migrants are escorted by Police and Border Force officers away from the beach at St. Margaret's Bay near Dover in Kent after arriving on the beach in a small boat

A group of migrants are escorted by Police and Border Force officers away from the beach at St. Margaret’s Bay near Dover in Kent after arriving on the beach in a small boat

A number of men, women and children were pulled out of dinghies and brought to the shore by Border Force

A number of men, women and children were pulled out of dinghies and brought to the shore by Border Force

Two men posed for the cameras as they were brought to shore by Border Force on Saturday morning

Two men posed for the cameras as they were brought to shore by Border Force on Saturday morning

A small child and its mother were brought onshore by Border Force officials on Saturday morning

A small child and its mother were brought onshore by Border Force officials on Saturday morning

The migrants were given blankets to shield them from the cold after the freezing early morning sailing across the Channel

The migrants were given blankets to shield them from the cold after the freezing early morning sailing across the Channel

A couple of dozen migrants huddled together in a Border Force boat after they were rescued from the sea

A couple of dozen migrants huddled together in a Border Force boat after they were rescued from the sea

The migrants jumped out of the dinghy to be greeted by members of an RNLI rescue team on Saturday

The migrants jumped out of the dinghy to be greeted by members of an RNLI rescue team on Saturday

Pressing Mr Rycroft repeatedly on the subject, Tory MP Tim Loughton said the committee needed to establish whether the tactic would make a ‘meaningful difference’ and was ‘actually going to happen’. 

Mr Rycroft said he could not give a ‘yes or no’ answer when asked if the tactic would be deployed ‘next week, month, year or ever’, adding: ‘When we see them will depend on lots of different factors.’

He explained it was ‘hard to give a definitive answer’ as it involves Border Force commanders making ‘judgments in the moment’ based on a number of factors, including the type of boat being used and the weather.

Mr Loughton suggested the boats may have made it to shore by the time this process is carried out, adding: ‘Realistically, this isn’t going to work’.

‘I totally disagree with that assessment,’ Mr Rycroft replied, adding that he did not want to provide detail on operations publicly so as not to give people smugglers arranging the boat crossings an advantage on tactics.

The Home Office’s most senior official also hit back at suggestions that plans under the Nationality and Borders Bill to send migrants who arrive in the country illegally to jail for four years would go against the Refugee Convention and could risk criminalising Afghans fleeing the Taliban takeover. 

The Home Office’s most senior official also hit back at suggestions that plans under the Nationality and Borders Bill to send migrants who arrive in the country illegally to jail for four years would go against the Refugee Convention and could risk criminalising Afghans fleeing the Taliban takeover. 

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