PARIS (AFP) - More than 45,000 migrants crossed the Channel to the UK from mainland Europe in 2022, surpassing the previous year’s record by more than 17,000, according to government figures released Sunday.
The issue has become a huge political problem for the Conservative government, which has promised to bring down illegal immigration and break the smuggling gangs that carry out the crossings.
In total, 45,756 people made the dangerous small-boat crossing of one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes last year, compared with 28,526 in 2021.
Four people died last month when a small boat packed with migrants capsized in freezing temperatures in the Channel.
A fishing boat in the area plucked 43 people from the frigid waters.
That incident occurred just over a year after at least 27 people drowned when their dinghy capsized, a disaster that sparked soul-searching on both sides of the Channel.
2022 also saw the highest ever single-day total of migrants making the crossing, with 1,295 making the journey on August 22.