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More than 250 people cross Channel into Britain in first recording since Borders Bill

MORE than 250 people used small boats to enter Britain on Sunday, making it the first Channel crossing since the Borders Bill came into effect.

The figure was confirmed by the government as more people thought to be migrants were seen being brought into Dover today on a lifeboat after reports of a small incident.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed that 254 migrants were detected in seven small boats on Sunday.

The MoD took over control of migrant operations last month when the government also announced controversial plans to send some of those making the cross-Channel journey to Rwanda.

The Tories’ Nationality and Borders Bill — dubbed the anti-refugee Bill by campaigners as it makes it a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in Britain illegally and includes powers to process asylum-seekers overseas — became law on Thursday.

Care4Calais said that of the 64 people it surveyed, 87 per cent had heard of the plan and 75 per cent said “it won’t put them off crossing to the UK.”

The group tweeted: “They have no choice: they’ve fled danger made long, dangerous journeys and France ‘does not give you security,’ as one said.”

It branded the Rwanda deal — which Home Secretary Priti Patel has described as a “world-first” agreement — as “just another in a long line of deterrence policies announced by this government over the last few years.”

Care4Calais said: “Refugees have escaped from the worst horrors in this world. When you’re risking your life, what else do you have to lose?

“When someone explains ‘even death wouldn’t stop me’ trying to get to the UK, it’s clear that even the threat of Rwanda won’t change anything.”

French National Assembly member for Calais Pierre-Henri Dumont said that there was evidence that the British government’s plans to process asylum applications in Rwanda was encouraging migrants to attempt the crossing before these measures took effect.

He said that he did not believe the measure would deter people from trying to reach Britain.

“When you leave your country because of flood, because of starvation, because you are not afraid of being hauled and sent back to another country, at least if you have a chance you will try,” he told BBC Radio 4’s the World At One programme.


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