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More than 10,000 migrants arrive in UK by crossing Channel in small boats this year | UK News

More than 10,000 migrants have arrived in the UK by crossing the Channel in small boats in 2024.

It is a new record for this stage in the year, surpassing the 9,326 who had crossed by this point in 2022. Last year, 7,326 migrants had arrived by small boats by 24 May.

This year’s landmark was reached on Saturday after 288 people crossed in five small boats on Friday – pushing the number into five figures.

A total of 10,170 people have crossed the Channel in small boats this year after Friday’s figures, according to Sky News calculations.

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The largest single day of crossings was on 1 May, when 711 people arrived, coinciding with the start of typically calmer conditions at sea.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has staked his political future over his message to “stop the boats”, but today’s milestone suggests the plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is failing to act as a sufficient deterrent.

Mr Sunak announced this week that no planes will take off to Rwanda until after the general election if the Conservatives win, while Labour has committed to scrapping the scheme altogether.

A Home Office spokesperson told Sky News: “The unacceptable number of people who continue to cross the Channel demonstrates exactly why we must get flights to Rwanda off the ground as soon as possible.

“We continue to work closely with French police who are facing increasing violence and disruption on their beaches as they work tirelessly to prevent these dangerous, illegal and unnecessary journeys. Last year they stopped 26,000 people from reaching our shores.

“We remain committed to building on the successes that saw arrivals drop by more than a third last year, including tougher legislation and agreements with international partners, in order to save lives and stop the boats.”

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