United Kingdom

Migrants arrive in Dover after Kent county council said it had reached limit

Images captured in Dover this weekend show migrants arriving by boat on British shores, days after Kent County Council declared it had reached its limit for the number of unaccompanied child migrants it can look after. 

The Home Office confirmed that it had dealt with a small boat incident today involving 39 people. 

In France, one crossing attempted overnight was intercepted prior to launch which involved 30 people. 

It comes after more than 1,000 would-be refugees crossed the Channel this month.

Images showed migrants arriving at Dover on Saturday in one dinghy, according to reports

Council leader Roger Gough and Sue Chandler, the cabinet member for integrated children's services, said it had reached unsafe capacity once again, just ten month after it faced a similar problem. 

They added that the council will no longer be able to accept any new unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) from June 14. 

The council said the government's recommended maximum number of under 18-year-old UASC that Kent should care for is 231.

Kent's number of under-18 UASC in care has risen from 274 to more than 400 since the beginning of the year and the numbers are rapidly increasing on a daily basis, according to KCC.

The latest arrival comes after Kent Council said it has reached its limit for the amount of unaccompanied children crossing the Channel that it can look after 

The council said it is also dealing with 1,100 UASC care leavers over 18 who remain in care with the council until the age of 25.

Border Force officials intercepted 179 people including children and a baby making the dangerous 21-mile journey in six boats on Thursday, and 10 more arrived at the Dover Marina on the same day. 

It took the total to cross the Dover Strait during the first nine days of the month to 1,008 people on board 41 boats.

Just 407 made the treacherous trip in the same timeframe last month - with May ending up smashing the monthly record as 1,619 migrants arrived in 80 boats.   

Damaged boats which have been previously used to cross the Channel lie in Dover 

Between January to May this year, French authorities have stopped 314 boats involving 4,072 migrants. 

In the same time frame for 2020, 220 boats involving 1,834 migrants were stopped.   

In total, 8,410 made the journey across the Channel in 2020. 

The numbers of migrants risking the dangerous journey are rising despite Home Secretary Priti Patel's pledge in March to overhaul the immigration system and to make illegal Channel crossings 'unviable'.  

The Home Secretary blamed the spiralling crisis on social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter who allow people-smugglers to use their platforms to advertise their criminal services.   

So far this year, 4,725 migrants have crossed the Channel, and 8,410 made the journey in 2020

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: 'Criminal gangs are putting profits before people's lives through these dangerous and unnecessary crossings.

'Almost 5,000 people have been prevented from making the dangerous crossing so far this year and we are cracking down on the despicable criminal gangs behind people smuggling.

'Inaction is not an option whilst people are dying. The Government is bringing legislation forward through our New Plan for Immigration which will break the business model of these heinous people smuggling networks and save lives.'

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