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Young children among migrants brought ashore in latest wave of crossings

UK News | Published:

The crossings continued on Friday.

A group of people, including young children, are brought into Dover, Kent, by Border Force officers

Young children were carried ashore by officials as the latest wave of Channel migrant crossings continued.

The children were pictured arriving on small boats being escorted into Dover, Kent, by Border Force patrols on Friday.

More than 900 people have arrived in the last 10 days.

Figures are yet to be provided for the numbers of those who arrived in the UK on Thursday as the country was braced for storms.

Migrant Channel crossing incidents
Children being escorted off boats in Dover, Kent, on Friday (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Concerns have been raised about the number of children making the dangerous crossing on the world’s busiest fishing lane, with the topic expected to form part of a forthcoming MP inquiry into the crisis.

The Home Office now refuses to provide information on how many children are making the journey.

But Kent County Council said it is taking in record numbers of migrant children into care at the moment.

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Leader Roger Gough told the PA news agency the council was just days away from being unable to look after more.

It has taken at least 420 into its care this year with more than 70 arriving so far this month.

It comes as immigration minister Chris Philp promised a “new, comprehensive action plan” to stem the latest surge in crossings after talks with French officials in Paris on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has responded to the Home Office’s formal request for help by sending in RAF planes.

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Migrant Channel crossing incidents
More than 900 people have arrived in the last 10 days. (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Three have been sent up into the skies above the Channel this week so far to carry out surveillance and help the coastguard and Border Force spot emerging crossing attempts.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace initially authorised the use of the Atlas A-400M on Monday and since approved flights by a Shadow R1 on Tuesday and Thursday while a P-8 Poseidon was enlisted on Wednesday.

The costs of the operations and decisions on whether to provide any other support are still being finalised, the MoD said.

It comes after Calais mayor Natacha Bouchart described sending in the navy to French broadcasters as a “declaration of maritime war”.

Home Secretary Priti Patel last year pledged that the migrant crossings would be an “infrequent phenomenon” by now and has since insisted she is working to make the route “completely unviable”.

Earlier this week she reportedly told Tory MPs the asylum system was “broken” as she promised to bring forward legal reforms.

But campaigners have always insisted that efforts by the Government to provide those seeking asylum of a safe and legal route of doing so before boarding a boat on the Channel would stop the crossings in their tracks.

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