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Hundreds of Boat Migrants Reach Britian as Rwanda Plan Flounders

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More than 250 migrants successfully crossed the English Channel on Sunday as the UK government’s stated Rwanda relocation plan has so far failed to deter illegals from arriving.

Britain’s plan to deter illegal migrants by sending asylum seekers to Rwanda appears now to be in jeopardy, as channel crossings once again resume in force after an 11-day pause during a spate of bad weather.

The migrant relocation plan — which has yet to kick off in earnest — had already been on choppy water thanks to many activist lawyers vowing to challenge it in the courts, while civil servants threatened to walk out of their Home Office jobs in the hopes of prompting a government u-turn on the policy.

However, another major blow has just been dealt to Boris Johnson’s migrant deterrence project after more than 250 people managed to land in Dover on Sunday by crossing the English Channel in small boats.

According to a report by Sky News, the Ministry of Defence said that they spotted at least seven boats crossing the channel on Sunday, with the sudden surge in crossings being put down to calmer seas and winds.

In total, at least 6,947 are now reported to have made the perilous journey from France to Britain, which is over three times the number of migrants who successfully reached UK shores last year.

Sunday’s arrivals have left many within the ranks of the Conservative Party with egg on their faces, with a number of officials praising the government’s plans to send migrants to Rwanda as having already successfully deterred new migrant crossings.

Things might change if and when migrants begin to be flown off to the African nation, with Australia’s similar policy of regularly deporting migrants who enter the country illegally having proven effective at curbing the number of arrivals.

However, with hundreds making their way to Britain on Sunday, it seems like the deterrent capability of the threat alone is now in tatters, with Brexit leader Nigel Farage saying that there would likely be many more arrivals on Monday.

“There have been spottings of boats all over the place in the Channel,” Farage said in a short report on the crossings. “Looks like another huge day.”

“[The] Rwanda policy isn’t working,” he also said in a separate online post.

Farage is not the only person claiming that the Rwanda plan does not seem to be acting as a deterrent to illegal migrants, with The Guardian reporting that a small survey of 60 migrants found that many were still willing to make the journey despite the threat of deportation, with only one-quarter of respondents saying they would consider remaining in France.

“I’m willing to risk it,” the publication reports one migrant — who was interviewed by Migrant NGO Care4Calais — as saying. “Everyone is scared in the camp but I don’t think it will affect them [the decision to cross the Channel].”

However, despite the early issues, it appears the government is sticking to its guns for now.

“This world-leading migration and economic development partnership will overhaul our broken asylum system, which is currently costing the UK taxpayer £1.5bn a year – the highest amount in two decades,” a spokesman for the Home Office is reported as saying.

“There is nothing in the UN refugee convention which prevents removal to a safe country,” the spokesman continued. “Under this agreement, Rwanda will process claims in accordance with national and international human rights laws.”

Follow Peter Caddle on Twitter: @Peter_Caddle
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