Annual Migrant Crossings in the Channel Decrease, a Win for Rishi Sunak


Recorded Decrease in Small Boat Crossings

The number of illegal migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats has fallen for the first time on record, according to Home Office figures. In 2023, there were 29,437 crossings, a decrease of 36 percent compared to the previous year's record of 45,774 crossings. This decrease comes as a victory for Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who has made stopping small boat arrivals a key campaign issue ahead of the upcoming election.

Government's Efforts to Curb Crossings

Rishi Sunak has been actively working to address the issue of small boat crossings. Despite legal challenges to his Rwanda plan, he has successfully secured a half-billion-pound deal with France to increase beach patrols. Additionally, return agreements with countries like Albania have resulted in a significant drop in migrants coming from the Balkan state.

Experts Warn of Possible Increase in 2024

While the decrease in small boat crossings in 2023 is seen as a positive development, experts caution that it may be a temporary situation. Lucy Moreton, the boss of the immigration services union, believes that this year's low numbers may be an anomaly due to factors such as high winds and larger, more seaworthy boats. She emphasizes the need for continued resources to handle potential higher numbers in the future, stating that while a peak like 2022 may not be seen again, the number of crossings is expected to be higher than in the previous year.

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