Thirty-Five migrants were rescued from boats in the early hours on Christmas Day in the English Channel and further Migrant Vessel was rescued by the RNLI Dover lifeboat.
Those onboard were Iraqi, Iranian and Afghan along with very young children as the rain lashed down on them.
A young baby girl was heard screaming she was was among the 68 people who arrived in Dover, Kent, at about midnight on Christmas morning.
A second child was also one of 35 people on board a dinghy assisted by Border Force between the Dunkirk and Calais Ferries, shortly before 12am.
All of those involved underwent a medical assessment and the adults have been transferred to immigration officials to be interviewed.
The children will come under the care of social services, officials said.
In another incident in French waters, nine migrants were rescued and are now in the UK after the engine of the vessel they were travelling in failed.
They have been transferred to the Coastguard to be assessed.
Border Force officials are being assisted by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency after being called to an incident in the Channel before 8.20pm on Christmas Eve
All 68 people are now in the UK. Border Force intercepted a number of boats containing migrants attempting to cross the Channel overnight and this morning and has deployed resources to deal with these incidents.
Evidence shows there are organised criminal gang activity behind illegal migration attempts by small boats across the Channel. The Home office has previously stated that they have been working closely with the French and law enforcement partners to target these gangs, who exploit vulnerable people and put lives at risk.”
The Christmas Day crossings follow a record number of migrant rescues in recent months involving people trying to travel across the Channel to Britain. It also involves the loss of 27 lives that remains under investigation.
Minister for Justice and Tackling Illegal Migration, Tom Pursglove MP, said:
“Seeking asylum for protection should not involve people asylum shopping country to country or risking their lives by lining the pockets of criminal gangs to cross the Channel. They should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach.
“This Government is reforming our approach to illegal entry to the UK and asylum by making the tough decisions to end the overt exploitation of our laws and UK taxpayers. The public have been crying out for reform for two decades and that’s what this Government is delivering through our New Plan for Immigration.
“The Nationality and Borders Bill will make it a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in the UK illegally and introduce life sentences for those who facilitate illegal entry into the country. It will also strengthen the powers of Border Force to stop and redirect vessels, while introducing new powers to remove asylum seekers to have their claims processed outside the UK.
“MPs have already voted to reform this broken and abusive system and the sooner the House of Lords approves the Borders Bill, the sooner these reforms can be delivered.”
- Today (25 December 2021) UK authorities have had to rescue or intercept 67 people from 2 events.
- Today (25 December 2021) French authorities have intercepted 1 event with the numbers prevented reaching the UK currently unknown.