“Rishi Sunak’s Promise to Halt Channel Crossings Fails as Over 5,000 Begin in Record First Quarter of 2024”

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Rishi Sunak’s commitment to “halt the boats” seems undermined as new data reveals a record surge in migrants crossing the Channel in the initial three months of 2024.

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According to Home Office statistics, 5,435 asylum seekers have made the journey via small boats to the UK this year, marking a 43 percent rise from the same period last year.

This number also exceeds by about a fifth the figures recorded by this point in 2022, the year that previously held the record for the most small boat crossings.

The recent calm weather conditions in the Channel contributed to a record-breaking Easter bank holiday weekend for Channel crossings.

Shadow immigration minister Stephen Kinnock criticized the Conservative government for the “unprecedented level of dangerous Channel crossings this Easter bank holiday.”

Kinnock highlighted, “During the Christmas period, they were quick to take credit for the reduced number of crossings, so where are the home secretary and prime minister now, as we’ve witnessed nearly 800 people arrive in small boats over the holiday weekend?”

James Cleverly had previously claimed on social media that “the Christmas period saw no small boat arrivals for the first time since their inception in 2018”.

Kinnock argued, “This is sheer chaos. It’s high time the Tories took control.”

He proposed that the government should embrace his party’s strategy to target human smuggling operations and establish a new returns and enforcement unit.

In January, Mr. Sunak announced his five key promises to the electorate, which included the commitment to “stop the boats”.

A cornerstone of this strategy is the plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda, but the necessary legislation failed to pass before Easter due to the government experiencing defeats in the House of Lords, and no attempt was made to expedite it before parliament’s break.

Parliament is set to revisit this legislation on April 15, with the House of Commons expected to overturn the Lords’ amendments and return the bill to the upper chamber.

Despite the PM asserting that his strategy to curb Channel crossings was effective, with a reported decrease of a third last year, critics attributed this to adverse weather conditions and pointed to the record start of 2024 as evidence that the pledge might fail.

Michael Tomlinson, the minister for illegal migration, stated: “While Labour continues to criticize our approach to illegal migration without offering a plan of their own, it’s evident they lack a strategy.

“Indeed, Labour has voted 118 times against Conservative initiatives to strengthen our borders, and Starmer’s five governmental missions omitted any mention of immigration. Under Labour, who aims to dismantle the effective deterrent of the Rwanda scheme, the number of illegal migrants would escalate.

“Adhering to our plan has resulted in a reduction of small boat arrivals by a third, and last year saw 24,000 individuals returned, with more removals occurring weekly. We must maintain our course, or risk regressing to the starting point under Labour.”

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