Migrant influx hits record high in 2021
Over 28,000 migrants traveled in small boats across the Channel from France to the UK in 2021, more than triple the previous year’s figures, with sometimes tragic consequences, the media reported, citing government data.
The media analysis of the UK government’s figures showed that 2021 saw a significant spike in people smugglers transporting individuals across one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes in the hope of securing asylum in Britain.
At least 28,395 migrants reached the UK in 2021, according to the PA’s analysis. The BBC counted that there were at least 28,431 people. The number more than tripled the 2020 figure, as the issue of individuals traveling across the Channel became a significant point of contention between Britain and France.
November alone saw 6,869 people arrive on British shores, as weather conditions proved favorable, allowing a record-breaking 1,185 individuals to arrive in a single day.
While thousands managed to get to the UK, some migrants suffered tragic fates, with a confirmed 27 migrants having drowned in the Channel on November 24 after attempting to use an inflatable raft to reach Britain. While mostly men, the victims included seven women, a 16-year-old teenager, and a seven-year-old child.
Relations between the UK and France have become tense as each side blames the other for the continued flow of migrants. During 2021, French President Emmanuel Macron reportedly called UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson “a clown” in private, while Britain publicly condemned Paris over the migrant crisis.
In a letter released in December, French Prime Minister Jean Castex rejected a UK proposal for a dual nation patrol in the Channel to combat migration. Dismissing Britain’s idea, Castex argued that having UK “police or soldiers patrol on our coasts” would potentially violate France’s “sovereignty.”