More than 100 Channel migrants have landed in Kent over the weekend, bringing to total number of people who have made the crossing to more than 10,000 so far this year, as lawyers failed in their battle to stop the first deportation flight from taking off tomorrow.
Government ministers were keeping a close eye on the High Court today as it heard two appeals aimed at halting its flagship policy of deporting migrants to Rwanda, all while desperate migrants risk their lives making the perilous 21-mile journey from France.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) says that 111 people were escorted to Dover on Sunday, June 12, by a Border Force vessel after they were found crossing the Channel at around 9am.
The arrivals on Sunday were first to make the crossing in five days, and included a number of women and small children. This was followed by another 35 migrants who made the crossing today, a group which was made up of mostly men.
It brings the total number of new arrivals to 567 in June alone, with the total for the year so far reaching 10,131.
The controversial Rwanda policy, which has been criticised by human rights groups and opposition parties, is set to get underway on Tuesday with a flight that will take 11 asylum seekers to the east African country.
There were doubts it might get off the ground, as challenges by the civil servants union and refugee charity Asylum Aid, which were heard at the High Court today. They were appealing a decision made by a judge last Friday to allow flights to go ahead while a full legal challenge to the policy is mounted.
However, the Court of Appeal dismissed the efforts of campaigners, paving the way for the flight to go ahead and barring them from making any further appeals. Judge Rabinder Singh said the Court of Appeal could not interfere with the High Court judge’s ‘clear and detailed’ judgement.
The Government insists the policy is needed to deter people smugglers and migrants from attempting to make the dangerous crossing, many of whom do it on rafts held together with tape.
It was reported earlier this week that Prince Charles had described the policy as ‘appalling’, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson hit out at ‘very active lawyers’ who were trying to block the Government.
A migrant arrives into Dover, Kent, on Monday, June 13, after being picked up from a raft in the Channel by Border Force officials
A small baby was among those who crossed the Channel, it was wrapped in a towel and carried onshore …….