A record number of migrants have been captured trying to cross into Britain — with human smugglers exploiting fears that they’ll be locked out after Brexit, according to reports.
UK Border Force officials on Tuesday intercepted 86 people on small boats trying to cross the English Channel from France, thought to be the most in a single day, according to the BBC. At least 21 others were stopped on Wednesday, too, the site said.
It takes the total making the hazardous crossing to more than 1,200 so far this year — with last month’s 336 not only a record but more than the 297 caught attempting the crossing in 2018, according to The Telegraph.
French politician Pierre-Henri Dumont said migrants were being misled by “fake news” that “the crossing will close” after Brexit — something he says human smugglers are deliberately manipulating.
“Smugglers say to migrants, ‘If the UK leaves the EU, you will not ever be able to cross the Channel,’ ” Dumont, a member of the French National Assembly for Calais, told the BBC.
“It’s a lie, because it won’t change anything. Smugglers are giving fake news to migrants, but it’s for them to earn money.”
A spokesman for the UK’s Home Office said it was “working closely at all levels with the French authorities to tackle this dangerous and illegal activity.”
“Last month the home secretary and her French counterpart agreed to intensify joint action to tackle small boat crossings in the Channel,” he added, according to the news channel.
“This includes drawing up an enhanced action plan to deploy more resources along the French coast to intercept and stop crossings.”