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Five Illegal Migrants Dead After Failed English Channel Crossing

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Illegal migrants die attempting to cross English Channel
Illegal Migrants Cross the English Channel: Image SkyNews

At least five illegal migrants have died while attempting to cross the English Channel from a region near Wimereux, France, according to local authorities.  Police were acting on a beach following the event on Tuesday morning, adding that there were numerous ‘lifeless bodies’.

The Coast Guard spokesperson stated that its agents were still operating at sea on Tuesday morning, following a ‘busy’ morning that included multiple crossing attempts.

The Channel between France and Britain is one of the world’s busiest maritime waterways. The currents are strong, making small boat crossings perilous. Human traffickers frequently overburden frail dinghies, leaving them barely afloat and vulnerable to waves as they attempt to reach British shores.

In December of last year, one person drowned, and another was critically injured when a boat carrying scores of migrants trying to reach the English coast crashed in the Channel.

Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has declared that nothing will stop him from sending illegal migrants seeking asylum to Rwanda, following parliament’s approval of the disputed policy meant to deter migrants from traveling to Britain in small boats.

A French newspaper reported hours after the bill passed that at least five migrants had died while attempting to cross the English Channel. The French coast guard could not confirm the details but stated that there were multiple “lifeless bodies”.

Illegal Migrants Crisis

Tens of thousands of illegal migrants, many fleeing wars and poverty in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, have arrived in Britain in recent years by crossing the Channel in small boats on dangerous journeys orchestrated by people smugglers.

For two years, Britain has sought to deport some of those entering in the hope of stemming the flow of migrants, claiming that crossings endanger lives and enrich criminal gangs.

“Our focus is now on getting flights off the ground, and I am clear that nothing will stand in our way of doing that and saving lives,” Sunak wrote in an email.

Once the bill becomes law, which is likely later this week, the government will be able to begin detaining asylum seekers, prompting fresh court challenges from charities, campaigners, and unions who believe that Rwanda is not a safe destination.

Steve Smith, the leader of the charity Care4Calais, which has previously fought the policy, stated that it will work hard to prevent any flights and sought to reassure illegal migrants in Britain.

“They can be assured that Care4Calais will not only stand in solidarity with them, we are committed to fighting for their safety here in the UK,” the spokesperson said.

Ending the Channel Crossings

Stopping the influx is a government goal, but some argue that deporting people to Rwanda rather than dealing with asylum applicants at home is harsh. They raise concerns about the East African country’s own human rights record, as well as the possibility of returning asylum seekers to countries where they face torture.

Sunak’s new bill stipulates that several existing UK human rights regulations will not apply to the initiative and that British judges must recognize Rwanda as a safe destination in an attempt to overturn a Supreme Court verdict declaring the scheme illegal.

It also restricts people’s choices for an appeal to only extreme instances.

Sunak announced on Monday that the first flights would take off in 10 to 12 weeks. He stated that an airfield was on standby, airplane slots had been prepared, 500 workers were ready to accompany migrants, and courts had been reserved to hear appeals.

Charities and rights groups say they will try to stop individual deportations, and the trade union that represents border force staff promises to contest the new legislation “within days” of the first asylum applicants being informed they will be deported to Rwanda.

The CTNNews editorial team comprises seasoned journalists and writers dedicated to delivering accurate, timely news coverage. They possess a deep understanding of current events, ensuring insightful analysis. With their expertise, the team crafts compelling stories that resonate with readers, keeping them informed on global happenings.

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