More than 45,000 illegal Channel crossings in 2022, a new record – RT in French

The number of migrants who crossed the Channel illegally exploded in 2022 to reach a record figure of nearly 45,000 people, according to an AFP count, using figures from the Ministry of Defense.

More than 45,000 migrants illegally reached the English coast in 2022 by crossing the Channel on makeshift boats, a new record.

Since his arrival in Downing Street in October, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has taken up the very tough position of his predecessors and again mentioned in his New Year’s greetings this subject, politically sensitive since Brexit, among his priorities.

The numbers are increasing year on year. According to AFP calculations based on figures from the Ministry of Defense, 45,756 migrants made the dangerous crossing of one of the busiest sea passages in the world, with very cold water for much of the year, against only 28,526 in 2021, yet already a record year.

Continuation of crossings in winter

While most arrivals take place in the summer, with a daily record of 1,295 migrants in 24 hours on August 22, they now continue through the winter months, with 1,745 arrivals in December. The last ones still took place on Christmas Day.

December was marked by the sinking of a dinghy carrying dozens of migrants from France in the early morning of December 14. Four of them died, Afghans and Senegalese according to the first elements of the investigation. A toll that could have been much heavier: 39 others were rescued by a nearby fishing boat.

On the night of November 23 to 24, 2021, 27 migrants aged between seven and 46 perished in the sinking of their inflatable boat. The increasing lockdown of the port of Calais on the French side and of the Channel Tunnel explain the explosion since 2018 in the number of Channel crossings in small boats.

The file is highly sensitive for the British conservatives who have been promising since Brexit to “take back control” of the borders, a desire reaffirmed by Rishi Sunak and his very right-wing interior minister Suella Braverman. But despite the successive plans announced, two again this year, the crossing figures continue to increase, completely overflowing the system of asylum applications in the United Kingdom.

In particular, London concluded an agreement this year with Rwanda to send migrants who arrived illegally there, regardless of their origin, without waiting for their asylum application to be examined. An agreement criticized by the UN, the Anglican Church and many organizations.

The project was suspended before the summer, after a decision by the European Court of Human Rights, but the government wants to relaunch it following a recent favorable decision by the British courts.

The aim is to discourage crossings and break the business model of smugglers. For associations helping migrants, the only way to fight against smugglers is to open legal channels to access the United Kingdom and seek asylum, which is almost impossible at present.

Paris and London signed an agreement in mid-November which provides in particular for an envelope of 72.2 million euros that the British will have to pay in 2022-2023 to France to increase the number of police and gendarmes on the beaches from 800 to 900. French, from where many migrants leave.

Towards more coercive British legislation

Latest attempt to date: a plan presented in December by the British Prime Minister, which includes an agreement with Tirana to massively expel the Albanians, who have arrived in large numbers this year (about a third of arrivals), although London considers this country safe – l Albania is not at war.

Rishi Sunak further announced a new “unified command” against smugglers and small craft. The government will also use former holiday centres, student residences or military premises to halve the accommodation bill for asylum seekers currently housed in hotels. In the longer term, an annual quota of asylum seekers will be determined by MPs and a law will prevent those who arrive illegally in the UK from staying there.


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