Priti Patel tells commons chamber to 'calm down and listen'
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Experts feared 2022 could be yet another record-breaking year for those arriving in the UK after making the perilous 21-mile journey across the Dover Strait. Some 5,000 people have already made the crossing in 2022 and a union chief representing Border Force workers has claimed the number could exceed 60,000.
Lucy Moreton, from the Union for Borders, Immigration and Customs, said: “The planning is for nearly 60,000, and that was before Ukraine.”
This would surpass the 28,431 migrants who made the journey in 2021, which was a record-breaking 12-months when compared to the 8,417 in 2020.
However, data from the MoD has shown the number of people crossing the Channel has collapsed in the days following an announcement by Boris Johnson and Priti Patel.
Zero migrants have been detected making the perilous 21-mile journey across the Dover Strait for at least eight days.
The last time migrants were detected was on April 19, when 263 were spotted in seven boats.
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When Ms Patel signed the agreement with the African country on April 14 more than 500 people in 15 small boats arrived on British shores.
The Prime Minister and Home Secretary, both of whom campaigned for the UK to take back control of its borders in the 2016 Brexit referendum, unveiled a £120million scheme which will focus on single men arriving on boats and lorries.
The scheme, which has been criticised by the Archbishop of Canterbury, will see many people who are deemed to have entered the UK by unlawful means be flown out to Rwanda.
Government insiders have claimed high winds in the Channel have led to the drop and fear summer months could see the figures soar again.
However, Number 10 insisted: “We are confident that the approach which is in the process of being set up will help break the business model which is seeing criminal gangs exploit vulnerable people.
“We want to get this operational as soon as possible and we hope to make the first flights shortly.”
The scheme is thought to be problematic for human traffickers as it could act as a deterrent.
It is also considered an important way for the UK to protect the integrity of its borders.
The Government also finally passed the controversial Nationality and Borders Bill on Wednesday night after months of parliamentary “ping-pong”.
The bill now means it is a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in the UK illegally.
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Speaking about the legislation, Ms Patel said it was “a huge milestone in our commitment to our promise to the British public” of an improved immigration system.
The Home Secretary added: “While there is no single solution to the global migration crisis, these new laws are the first step in overhauling our decades-old, broken asylum system.
“We will now work tirelessly to deliver these reforms to ensure we have an immigration system that protects those in genuine need while cracking down on abuse of the system and evil people-smuggling gangs.”
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