Europe 1 with AFP 4:30 p.m., May 2, 2022

More than 250 migrants were spotted aboard seven makeshift boats as they crossed the English Channel to the UK on Sunday, the British Ministry of Defense said on Monday.

The number of clandestine crossings, multiplied by three in 2021, could reach a new record this year.

On board seven makeshift boats, more than 250 migrants were spotted as they crossed the English Channel on Sunday to reach the United Kingdom, the British Ministry of Defense said on Monday.

It is the first time in eleven days that the British government, which updates data on these illegal crossings daily, reports boats in the English Channel, the end of April having been marked by violent winds and a sea restless.

The number of clandestine crossings, multiplied by three in 2021, could reach a new record this year.

More than 7,000 people have crossed the English Channel this way since January

The British Navy, in charge since mid-April of the control of illegal crossings in the English Channel with the aim of better detecting them, reported 254 people who crossed aboard seven boats this Sunday.

Images published in British media also show migrants continuing to arrive in Dover on Monday.

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In total since the beginning of the year, nearly 7,000 people have reached the British coast by crossing the Channel aboard makeshift boats, according to a count by the PA agency.

This is three times more than the balance sheet last year at the same period.

While Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made the fight against illegal immigration his priority after Brexit, crossings have continued to increase, tripling in 2021, a year marked by the death of 27 migrants in a shipwreck at the end of November.

Vote on a controversial reform on the right of asylum

More than 28,500 people made these perilous crossings in 2021, compared to 8,466 in 2020, 1,843 in 2019 and 299 in 2018, according to the Ministry of the Interior.

To discourage crossings, the government last week enshrined in law a controversial reform of the right to asylum, which notably plans to send asylum seekers who arrived illegally in the United Kingdom to Rwanda, while they request asylum is considered.

The new law has been strongly criticized by international and refugee aid organizations.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees on Wednesday regretted a text that "undermines established international laws and practices for the protection of refugees".

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