More than 5,000 migrants have crossed the English Channel in 2024

More than 5,000 migrants have crossed the English Channel this year, with nearly 800 making the journey over the Easter bank holiday weekend, BBC reports.

A total of 791 migrants made the journey on 30 and 31 March, according to the Home Office.

The government's figures indicate that 349 crossed on Saturday, with a further 442 spotted on Sunday, taking the total number of people who have made the journey this year to 5,435.

A Home Office spokesperson said the “unacceptable number of people” crossing the Channel “demonstrates exactly why we must get flights to Rwanda off the ground as soon as possible”.

Before Saturday’s crossings, 2024 had already seen a record number of people making the journey in the first three months of the year.

The previous record for January to March was 4,548 in 2022, with 3,793 arrivals in the first quarter of last year.

Shadow immigration minister Stephen Kinnock said: “The Tories have overseen an unprecedented level of dangerous Channel crossings this Easter Bank Holiday” “Over Christmas, they were quick to claim credit for the low number of crossings, so where are the home secretary and prime minister now, when we’ve seen almost 800 people arrive in small boats over the bank holiday weekend?”

Stopping the boats was one of Rishi Sunak’s five pledges to the electorate before an expected general election later this year.

The Rwanda Bill remains tied up in parliament after peers inflicted a series of defeats on the government before the Easter break.

Ministers did not try to rush it back to the Commons before the recess and it will be considered by MPs again when parliament resumes on 15 April.

The Home Office spokesperson said: “We continue to work closely with French police who are facing increasing violence and disruption on their beaches as they work tirelessly to prevent these dangerous, illegal and unnecessary journeys. We remain committed to building on the successes that saw arrivals drop by more than a third last year, including tougher legislation and agreements with international partners, in order to save lives and stop the boats.”

Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty International UK’s refugee and migrant rights director, said: “Governments on both sides of the Channel must completely change tack by sharing responsibility and putting in place arrangements to enable safe access to each of their asylum procedures – something they have done before.”