At least 41 migrants en route to the United Kingdom in a small boat were stopped in the English Channel, video shows.
The footage, obtained by Sky News, shows dozens of migrants packed in a dinghy Monday being intercepted by the UK’s Border Force after the boat’s generator broke down in French waters as it was trying to cross the Channel.
Most of the migrants were men, along with three women and two children. More than 900 migrants have crossed the Channel in recent weeks, Sky News reported.
The ill-fated trip came a week after the Ministry of Defense said 254 people arrived on the English coast in seven boats from northern France on May 1.
The crossings had largely stopped since April 20 — days after Britain announced a plan to send some asylum-seekers to Rwanda. Officials said inclement weather was likely the reason for the lull, rather than the new policy.
More than 28,000 migrants entered Britain across the Channel last year, a huge surge from 8,500 a year earlier. Dozens of them have died during their journeys, including 31 people when a packed boat sank in November.
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said her plan to send migrants to Rwanda is a “clear signal” that people who arrive in the nation illegally have no right to remain, Sky News reported.
Patel acknowledged her plan will “take time” to implement, although Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it’s the “morally right thing to do” and would likely deter migrants from making the treacherous Channel crossing, according to Sky News.
The initial set of asylum-seekers who may receive a one-way ticket to the African nation were to be notified this week. Anyone successfully claiming the asylum would receive refugee status in Rwanda – with the first flights expected in coming months, according to the report.
“I’ve said from day one, even when I signed the agreement and announced the partnership, that this will take time and it will take time for a range of reasons,” Patel said. “We see various hurdles and barriers, mainly from specialist law firms that want to block the removal of individuals that have no right to be in our country. That is part of the techniques that they use.”
But the government is set on removing anyone who has no “legal right to be in our country,” Patel continued.
“We will use every tool and every piece of legislation that we have at our disposal to make sure that we can remove them,” she said.
Johnson, meanwhile, had previously said tens of thousands of migrants could be sent to Rwanda under the plan.
But reports indicated that UK officials had planned for as few as 300 to be sent annually, prompting a revised figure with no cap on the number of people to be sent to the African nation, Sky News reported.
With Post wires