Dramatic photographs showed migrants staggering onto a British beach today after a potentially record-breaking number were picked up off the coast with up to 25 boats crossing the English Channel.
Pictures taken this morning showed one group wading through the water and looking exhausted as they collapsed and sat down on rocks on the Kent coast at Dover after making the perilous journey from France.
Two dinghies were brought as close to shore as possible before the migrants got out and walked through the water, falling over and ending up soaking wet by the time they reached the sand and shingle.
One of the group could be seen wringing out water from her clothes, while some helped each other walk along the beach and talked to Border Force officials who arrived on the scene before they could leave.
Other photographs showed the migrants sleeping on the sand and trying to get dry following the crossing, with most of them not wearing face masks despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Separate sets of pictures showed a family sitting on a bench after walking up a hill following their landing at St Margaret’s at Cliffe near Dover, and groups of migrants being brought into the town’s harbour by the Border Force.
The arrivals along the coast mean today’s crossings could eclipse last month’s single-day record of 235 migrants who arrived in 17 vessels, although it is not yet known how many were among the groups this morning.
One group of migrants was seen walking up a hill after landing at St Margaret’s at Cliffe near Dover today, while another group were spotted at the foot of the White Cliffs of Dover.
Four dinghies evaded Border Force to land at The Warren beach near Folkestone, while the Dover lifeboat brought 25 refugees into the port this morning – and it was carrying around 13 to shore around 10am.
A group of migrants wade through the water onto a beach at Dover in Kent this morning after crossing the English Channel
The migrants look exhausted as they walk onto the beach at Dover in Kent this morning following the crossing
The group of migrants arrived at the coast in Dover on two boats this morning following their crossing over the Channel
A migrant sits on the rocks at the beach in Dover today (left), while another is collapsed on the steps this morning (right)
Migrants walk onto the shore at the beach in Dover this morning after making the journey across the English Channel
Migrants get some rest on the beach at Dover this morning after making the perilous journey across the Channel
A boat carrying one set of the migrants is pulled into shore at Dover this morning following the crossing
The group of migrants walk onto the beach at Dover this morning after travelling across the English Channel
Two migrants, one wearing a face mask, walk up the beach at Dover in Kent this morning following their arrival
Border Force officers wearing face masks stand near the group on the beach at Dover following their arrival this morning
One onlooker told MailOnline that he was at the beach with a group of other people when the migrants arrived and managed to convince them to avoid escaping.
He said: ‘We were there before the police. The lifeboat couldn’t get in – it was too shallow. So if we weren’t there, they were have run off and escaped. The Border Force arrived within 20 minutes – it’s next to the dock.
‘Some did try and make an escape but we managed to round them up and persuade them not to, because there’s railway lines and roads nearby – so if you don’t know the area you get killed instantly.’
Speaking about the blonde lady wearing trainers, he said: ‘She was absolutely exhausted, she fell on the floor after getting there. She was given a bottle of Diet Coke and she perked up, but she was shivering to the bone.’
Referring to another woman who was lying on the steps, he added that she ‘collapsed complaining of pains in her stomach, and they were trying to establish what it was’ with an English-speaking member of the group.
He said Coastguards, medics and Border Force officials were all at the scene following the arrival of the migrants on the two boats and ‘have been run off their feet, big time’.
Speaking about the migrants, he said: ‘They were all focused, they all got off the craft and you can see them falling over, because obviously it’s low tide, and it’s a bit of a further walk. They were just about to disperse.’
He also took a separate series of photographs of a family who landed at St Margaret’s at Cliffe, saying they were caught at the top of the hill after climbing up from the beach and taken in by the Coastguard.
A woman sits on the rocks at the beach in Dover this morning after making the journey across the English Channel
The migrants sit on rocks at the beach in Dover this morning after making it across the Channel to Britain today
The group of migrants walk up the beach today after a potentially record-breaking number were picked up off the coast
One of the migrants falls into the water after stepping off the boat following the arrival on the Kent coast this morning
The migrants look exhausted as they make their way onto the beach at Dover following their crossing over the Channel
The two boats carrying the migrants arrive on the Kent coast this morning after they travelled across the Channel
Coastguard workers pictured today as bosses said they were ‘committed to safeguarding life around seas and coastal areas’
A woman gets some rest on the beach at Dover this morning after making the perilous journey across the Channel
One of the boats carrying the migrants is pulled into shore during their arrival off the Kent coast this morning
Coastguar workers and Border Force officers wearing face masks work together on the beach at Dover this morning
A woman wrings out water from her clothing after arriving on the beach at Dover following the crossing this morning
A group of migrants arrive on a boat at Dover following their crossing over the English Channel today
The rescue operation was going on since at least 6am. The Channel was calm and there were clear skies – making it easier to make the perilous journey across the world’s busiest shipping lane, the Dover Strait.
A separate set of photographs taken in another area of Dover this morning appeared to show more babies and children than usual among the latest migrants to arrive by dinghy today.
The pictures showed at least five children being led or carried into the port by rescuers this morning after they made the dangerous journey into the UK aboard flimsy boats.
Some of the children – as young as a few months old – were not wearing lifejackets as they were led up the gangway, although they could have been already removed.
Others were being carried by officials, rather than their parents, after making the treacherous trip across the Channel. The youngest baby was carried onto shore by what appeared to be a Border Force official.
Another baby was strapped to a woman’s front, and was wearing warm coats. A couple with two small boys were photographed being escorted up the gangway, and 14 boats were pictured tied to the side of the port.
At least 100 people were brought into Dover today, packed on Border Force patrol vessels and sitting on lifeboats. Some smiled and waved as they arrived into the busy port while others carried toddlers too young to walk.
Lashing winds and choppy seas brought on by Storm Francis at the end of August made crossings impossible for several days, but conditions have improved in the first two days of September.
The group of migrants are led up the steps at the beach in Dover this morning by mask-wearing Border Force officers
The migrants walk up the steps at the beach in Dover this morning following their crossing over the English Channel
The migrants arrive at the beach in Dover this morning after making the perilous journey across the Channel today
A woman sits on the sand and shingle at the beach in Dover today after making the journey across the English Channel
A man sits in the sunshine on the rocks off the Kent coast this morning after completing the journey across the Channel
Two boats carrying the migrants are pulled as close as possible to the shore at Dover today before they get off
Border Force officers speak with each other as they stand next to the group of migrants who arrived at Dover today
Two powerboats are pictured on the Kent coast at Dover this morning following the arrival of the migrants
A man and woman help each other along the beach at Dover this morning following their journey across the Channel
A pair of jeans are left to dry out on the beach at Dover this morning following the arrival of the group of migrants
One of the migrants falls into the water while wading up to the Kent coast following the crossing this morning
Today has seen bright sunshine and winds under 5mph in Kent, with temperatures expected to reach 18C (64F). The Home Office has yet to confirm how many migrants successfully crossed to the UK yesterday.
Immigration officials at the port of Dover were busy this morning, with dozens of migrants waiting aboard Border Force vessels and lifeboats in the harbour. Among their numbers were adults carrying young children.
After waiting to be brought ashore – some for about an hour – the migrants were led up the gangway towards the Border Force processing centre. Once ashore, they will be assessed for symptoms of coronavirus, as is protocol.
Several empty dinghies with outboard motors attached were also seen being towed into the port throughout the morning. French marine patrol boats remain active on the other side of the Channel.
In the House of Commons today, Boris Johnson claimed Britain is a ‘target and magnet’ for people traffickers as he pledged to make changes to the law.
Conservative Lee Anderson (Ashfield) told the Prime Minister the asylum system is ‘broken and being abused’, to which Mr Johnson replied in the Commons: ‘I have a great deal of sympathy with those who are so desperate as to put their children in dinghies or even children’s paddling pools and try to cross the Channel.
‘But I have to say what they’re doing is falling prey to criminal gangs and they are breaking the law. They’re also undermining the legitimate claims of others who would seek asylum in this country.
‘That is why we will take advantage of leaving the EU by changing the Dublin regulations on returns and we will address the rigidities in our laws that makes this country, I’m afraid, a target and a magnet for those who would exploit vulnerable people in this way.’
A group of migrants are pictured after being picked up by a lifeboat and brought ashore at Dover Harbour this morning
A migrant raises his hands following his arrival at Dover this morning after being picked up by a lifeboat
Migrants are brought to shore after arriving at Dover today as huge numbers of them continue to arrive in Kent
The scene in Dover today where adults and young children were seen arriving after having crossed part of the Channel
A baby is carried off a boat by a woman following the arrival of the migrants off the coast of Dover this morning
The scene in Dover today after adults and young children were seen arriving having crossed part of the English Channel
A man wearing a face mask carries a young child following the arrival of a group of migrants at Dover this morning
Border Force officers patrol the area off the coast of Dover this morning as groups of migrants arrive in Britain
A man holds the hand of one child while carrying another as he arrives at Dover after crossing the Channel this morning
A woman is helped to shore after arriving at Dover this morning after groups of migrants crossed the Channel
A man walks with two children while a woman carries a young child after arriving at Dover this morning
Home Office minister Chris Philp said 24 people have been jailed for facilitating illegal immigration so far this year.
Responding to an urgent question in the Commons, he said: ‘The majority of these crossings are facilitated by ruthless criminal gangs who make money from exploiting migrants who are desperate to come here.
‘We’re working with the National Crime Agency to go after those who profit from such misery. Already this year 24 people have been convicted and jailed for facilitating illegal immigration.’
Mr Philp said 34 people who attempted to cross the Channel today were picked up by the RNLI. He said the French authorities also stopped 84 migrants from making the journey on the French side today and over 3,000 crossing attempts have been stopped this year.
He also added that the UK is working to return around 1,000 people who have illegally entered the UK after already having claimed asylum in another country.
Mr Philp highlighted the dangers of small boats crossing the Channel after a Sudanese migrant died attempting to get to the UK.
He told the Commons: ‘In recent months the UK has seen a completely unacceptable increase in illegal migration through small boat crossings from France to the UK.
‘This Government and the Home Secretary are working relentlessly to stop these crossings.’
A group of migrants are brought into Dover by Border Force officers today after crossing the English Channel
A group of migrants are brought into Dover on the Dungeness Lifeboat after travelling over the English Channel
A group of migrants are brought into Dover this morning by Border Force officers after their crossing
Border Force officials bring a group of migrants into Dover today following their arrival this morning
Migrants sit on the Dungeness Lifeboat as they are brought into Dover after crossing the English Channel
A group of migrants are brought into Dover today by Royal National Lifeboat Institution personnel today
Border Force and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution worked together to bring the migrants into Dover today
A group of migrants are brought into Dover by RNLI workers today following their crossing of the Channel
A number of small RIBs are towed away by Border Force officers after the arrival of the migrants in Kent today
A group of migrants are brought into Dover today by the RNLI following another crossing over the English Channel
He added: ‘These crossings are highly dangerous. Tragically last month a 28-year-old old Sudanese man, Abdulfatah Hamdallah, died in the water near Calais attempting this crossing.’
Record 1,450 migrants crossed the Channel in dinghies last month
A record number of migrants reached Britain by illegally crossing the Channel last month, it has been confirmed.
More than 1,450 arrived by small boats in August, bringing the total since the start of the year to more than 5,000. Just 1,850 migrants made the journey in 2019.
The massive rise comes despite a vow from Home Secretary Priti Patel last autumn to have made the crossings an ‘infrequent phenomenon’ by this point.
The Home Office has sought to blame French authorities and ‘activist lawyers’ for the increase and for difficulties removing asylum seekers once they arrive in Britain.
About 100 migrants were seen arriving in the port of Dover yesterday, with at least 15 small boats reaching British shores.
The daily total included women and children, as well as three men on an inflatable kayak.
One woman in her 20s was seen being brought ashore by Border Force officers in a wheelchair.
Others were brought into Dover aboard the UK Border Force patrol boat Hunter. They were seen being ushered out of the cabin on to the stern of the vessel where they were given life jackets.
Immigration officials then helped them ashore one by one and escorted them up the gangway.
A dinghy believed to have been used to cross the Channel was seen being towed into the harbour shortly afterwards.
Later, more arrivals believed to be migrants were seen coming into the port, sitting on the front of an RNLI lifeboat.
About a dozen in life jackets were helped ashore, where they were met by border officials.
The previous monthly record for migrant arrivals was 1,075, set in July. August’s arrivals saw 235 reach Britain on just one day – which was also a record.
Miss Patel is seeking a deal with French authorities that would allow migrant boats to be turned back in the Channel. No agreement has yet been reached.
Yesterday, the Mail revealed the taxpayer was hit with a £1billion bill for the asylum system last year.
Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said: ‘Isn’t the truth that the Government’s approach to this whole issue has frankly been defined by a lack of compassion and a lack of competence.’
He queried why work last year had ‘proved so inadequate’, asking when the joint action plan would be available for scrutiny.
He said: ‘The Government was warned including by the Foreign Affairs select committee that the collapse of safe routes would lead to growing numbers of people taking to the sea.’
He added: ‘The expectation around the Dubs amendment across the House was that 3,000 children would be accepted under the scheme. Does the minister now agree it was a profound error and frankly lacking in compassion to close down that scheme when only a 10th of that number had been accepted?’
Mr Thomas-Symonds also asked: ‘What safeguards are being put in place to ensure that all accommodation is kept safe and Covid secure as well as protected from far-right attacks which have unfortunately been reported in recent days?’
He added: ‘What we need now are solutions, not empty headlines trying to sound tough and I have deep concerns that the Government in recent weeks through talking of deploying the Navy and the RAF have tried to militarise a solution where lives are at risk.
‘Ultimately the sad truth is that people are fleeing their homes as a result of poverty, war and persecution. So does the minister accept that abolishing the Department for International Development is a great mistake?’
Responding, Mr Philp said: ‘This Government has provided almost 20,000 resettlement places since 2015, a number dwarfing the 3,000 mentioned. Since 2010, 44,000 children have been offered protection by the UK of one form or another.’
He added: ‘This Government certainly needs no lessons in compassion, our asylum system is extremely compassionate, extremely generous and those numbers speak for themselves.’
Conservative MP Aaron Bell, for Newcastle-under-Lyme, said that ‘asylum shopping’ must end.
He said: ‘Does (Chris Philp) agree that what’s happening at the moment is essentially a form of asylum shopping where people claim asylum in the first country they reach and then they move to another and claim asylum again?
‘They keep claiming asylum instead of securing the first safe country, they keep coming to the UK where they believe we have a more favourable asylum system. Asylum shopping needs to end, does he agree with that?’
Mr Philp responded: ‘(Mr Bell) is absolutely right – people who are genuinely seeking a safe refuge could and should claim that refuge in the first country they reach.’
Chris Philp said he ‘wholeheartedly’ condemns violent far-right groups who are targeting those who arrive in the UK having crossed the Channel.
Labour MP Rosie Duffield, for Canterbury, said: ‘Given the recent, very violent assault on a young man who had just landed on a Kent beach, and the planned protest by far-right groups in Kent as reported in several broadsheet newspapers, what extra support is (Home Secretary Priti Patel) offering policing in Kent to ensure the safety of all those who seek asylum in our country?
Another group of migrants was seen walking up a hill after landing at St Margaret’s at Cliffe near Dover today
The family group walked up the cliffs near Dover following their crossing over the English Channel this morning
The group of migrants sit on a park bench after arriving at St Margaret’s at Cliffe today following their crossing
The woman gets some rest after the family arrive in St Margaret’s at Cliffe following their Channel crossing
The family were caught at the top of the hill after climbing up from the beach in St Margaret’s at Cliffe this morning
A separate group of migrants arrive on the beach at St Margaret’s at Cliffe this morning following their Channel crossing
‘And will (Mr Philp) join me in telling those hate-driven violent groups that make their way to Kent to come back to where they come from?’
Mr Philp responded: ‘Yes I will join her in condemning wholeheartedly and unreservedly the groups she’s describing who have targeted migrants in this way.
‘There is no excuse at all under any circumstances for harassing people who have arrived whatever someone’s views may be about the immigration system.
‘There is no excuse, no justification. The police have our full support in dealing with anyone who perpetrates violent offences or indeed harassment offences of the kind she described.’
The Coastguard said it had been ‘assisting Border Force with incidents off Dover’ today, with a spokesman adding: ‘HM Coastguard is committed to safeguarding life around the seas and coastal areas of this country.
‘We are only concerned with preservation of life, rescuing those in trouble and bringing them safely back to shore, where they will be handed over to the relevant partner emergency services or authorities.’
Meanwhile, French authorities picked up 13 migrants in three separate incidents yesterday, which included two people on a kayak who were spotted in difficulty by a ferry two miles east of Calais.
A record number of migrants reached Britain by illegally crossing the Channel last month. More than 1,450 arrived by small boats in August, bringing the total since the start of the year to more than 5,000.
French police bring migrants back to the shore after rescuing them when their boat encountered difficulties off Calais today
French police assist migrants rescued after their boat got into trouble during an attempted crossing off Calais today
The migrants at Calais sit down after French police rescued them when their makeshift ship encountered difficulties today
Just 1,850 migrants made the journey in 2019. The massive rise comes despite a vow from Home Secretary Priti Patel last autumn to have made the crossings an ‘infrequent phenomenon’ by this point.
The Home Office has sought to blame French authorities and ‘activist lawyers’ for the increase and for difficulties removing asylum seekers once they arrive in Britain.
About 100 migrants were seen arriving in the port of Dover yesterday, with at least 15 small boats reaching British shores. The daily total included women and children, as well as three men on an inflatable kayak.
One woman in her 20s was seen being brought ashore by Border Force officers in a wheelchair. Others were brought into Dover aboard the UK Border Force patrol boat Hunter.
They were seen being ushered out of the cabin on to the stern of the vessel where they were given life jackets. Immigration officials then helped them ashore one by one and escorted them up the gangway.
A dinghy believed to have been used to cross the Channel was seen being towed into the harbour shortly afterwards. Later, more arrivals were seen coming into the port, sitting on the front of an RNLI lifeboat.
About a dozen in life jackets were helped ashore and met by border officials. The previous monthly record for migrant arrivals was 1,075, in July. August’s arrivals saw 235 reach Britain on just one day, which was also a record.
Miss Patel is seeking a deal with French authorities that would allow migrant boats to be turned back in the Channel. Yesterday, the Mail revealed the taxpayer was hit with a £1billion bill for the asylum system last year.