Channel migrant numbers top 15,000 as government cracks down
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The number of migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats has now topped 15,000 since 2023

In the first half of the year, over 15,000 people have crossed the English Channel in small boats.

It was announced that the government would partner with social media companies to stop the advertising of smuggling gangs.

National Crime Agency (NCA) will be a partner in the voluntary partnership.

For identifying content, the NCA and Home Office will establish an Online Capability Centre worth £11 million.

The Home Office reports that 262 people crossed on Friday and 77 on Saturday, bringing this year’s total to 15,072.

So far this year, there has been a 15% decline from the same time in 2022.

All of the social media plans have been signed up to by Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, as well as TikTok and X, previously known as Twitter.

“To stop the boats, we need to tackle the business model of vile people smugglers at the source,” said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

We will redouble our efforts to combat these criminals, working together to stop their vile trade as a result of this new commitment from tech firms.

Deputy Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: “This strengthened collaboration will ensure that content promoting dangerous and illegal Channel crossings does not appear online.”

It is “tinkering around the edges when much larger reforms are needed”, according to Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Alistair Carmichael.

According to the MP, the asylum system has lost all public trust in this Government, and this latest announcement will not change that.

Labor accused the Government of “cooking the books” and claimed more than 6,000 asylum seekers were wiped off the backlog of decisions for a variety of reasons, including failing to fill out questionnaires.

As a result of a missed appointment, Stephen Kinnock, the shadow immigration minister, accused ministers of “simply marking cases as withdrawn”.

Conservatives are lying to the public and cooking the books, he said.

There should be a clearer picture of how many of these ‘withdrawn’ asylum seekers drift off into Britain’s underground economy and how many are removed.”

When individuals withdraw their claims, the Home Office insists they are removed from the country if they do not have the right to remain.

“Our efforts to streamline processing have resulted in an increase in the number of claims that are withdrawn. These can occur for a variety of reasons, including when someone leaves the UK before their claim is considered or if they choose to or pursue another application for permission to stay,” said the spokesman.