The Telegraph, September 6, 2021
Migrant crossings have hit a new record high with at least 1,000 men, women and children reaching the UK across the Channel on Monday.
Smugglers took advantage of the September heatwave and calm sea to send a flotilla of dinghies and other small boats towards England’s shores.
The estimated 1,000 arrivals is the highest daily figure to date, beating the previous record of 828 on August 21.
It means more than 13,500 migrants have reached the UK from France so far this year, compared with 8,417 for the whole of last year.
The record crossing will pile further pressure on Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, who has seen more than 5,000 migrants arrive since handing France £54million to increase patrols and surveillance in a bid to halt the exodus.
A baby and several young children were among a large group of migrants brought ashore on board a packed lifeboat at Dungeness in Kent.
While officials led passengers away, one woman was seen clutching a small baby who was strapped to her.
Images show other young boys and girls being carried or escorted to safety among several men and women.
Eyewitnesses described authorities including Border Force and the RNLI as appearing to be very busy as a steady stream of crossings was thought to be under way amid calm waters and sunny skies.
Sunday saw the first small boat crossings for more than two weeks due to bad weather.
Despite this, the UK continues to see far fewer boat arrivals and asylum claims than many of its European counterparts.
Earlier this year the RNLI saw a large spike in donations after the charity’s chief executive defended its role in rescuing people crossing the English Channel, describing it as “humanitarian work”.
It came after the charity said it had faced heightened criticism for rescuing migrants, with one crew having to call the police after being subjected to abuse.