A record number of over 45000 migrants have crossed the English Channel to the UK from mainland Europe in 2022, surpassing the previous year's record by more than 60 percent, governmental data suggests.
According to UK government figures released on Sunday, in total, 45,756 refugees made the dangerous small-boat crossing of one of the world's busiest shipping lanes last year, compared with 28,526 in 2021.
Almost 13 hundred people made the journey on a single day back in August, the highest such figure ever.
Furthermore, in the latest casualties of illegal crossings, four people died in mid-December after a small migrant boat capsized in the frozen waters of the English Channel.
The incident, in which 43 other people were rescued, took place in icy conditions off the coast of Kent, where many small boats carrying asylum seekers arrive from France.
British Home Secretary Suella Braverman told parliament at the time that the tragic incident was a reminder that dangerous journeys across the Channel must end.
Migration to the UK organized by human-trafficking gangs has become an issue of high priority for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government.
Aside from its casualties, the flow of illegal migrants has also soured Britain's relations with neighboring France, prompting a blame game between the two.
Meanwhile, as a solution to stop the crossings and manage hundreds of refugees who pass the Channel every day, the UK government signed a deal with Rwanda in April 2022 to send those refugees to the East African country.
Under the deal, signed off by then Home Secretary Priti Patel, the migrants and asylum-seekers illegally entering Britain would be sent thousands of miles away to Rwanda on a one-way ticket.
The UK has promised Rwanda an initial £120m as part of an “economic transformation and integration fund” and has pledged to pay for operational costs too.
The High Court has ruled that the government's Rwanda asylum plan is legal, but the decision is likely to face further challenges in the courts.
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