Migrants cross English Channel en masse

New bill under consideration will make it a crime to knowingly arrive in the UK without permission

At least 430 migrants crossed the English Channel on Monday on route from France to the UK, marking a new record for a single day, news wires reported. Around 50 people were seen landing on the beach in Kent after crossing in one dinghy. The group included women and children.

It comes after eight boats carrying 241 migrants reached the UK on Sunday. So far this year, nearly 8,000 people have reached the UK in about 345 boats. But Home Office claims it was taking "substantial steps to tackle the unacceptable problem of illegal migration", and Home Secretary Priti Patel has pledged to make Channel crossings "unviable", with new legislation that will make it a crime to knowingly arrive in the UK without permission.

Under the Nationality and Borders Bill, which is currently being considered by MPs, migrants entering without permission could face up to four years in prison. The government hopes the overhaul of asylum rules will deter migrants making the crossing. But the plans have been criticised by many charities including Refugee Action, which has called them "extreme and nasty".

According to Dan O'Mahoney, clandestine channel threat commander, cited by the BBC, “there is an unacceptable rise in dangerous small boat crossings across the channel because of a surge in illegal migration across Europe. People should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach. We are continuing to pursue the criminals behind these illegal crossings."

In his words the Nationality and Borders Bill would "protect lives and break this cycle of illegal crossings" and the government was continuing to return those with no legal right to remain in the UK.

More on this subject: Migration crisis

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