08:12 GMT +319 September 2019
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    Life jackets and a boat that were used by refugees and migrants to cross the Aegean sea from Turkey lie abandoned on a beach on the Greek Island of Lesbos on October 8, 2015.

    Two Migrant Boats Stopped Near Dover in a Single Night Amid Migrant Crisis - Reports

    © AFP 2019 / Aris Messinis
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    A global migrant crisis has hit Europe since around the beginning of 2015, seeing scores of migrants from the Middle East and Africa attempting to escape their home countries and take the hazardous journey into Europe.

    Two migrant boats have been stopped off the coast of Dover by the UK Border Force, the Daily Mail reports.

    A total of 25 migrants attempted to make the risky journey during Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.

    The first boat was caught around 4am on Thursday morning before it was returned to Dover. The passengers were reportedly Iranian and mostly middle aged men in their 40s and 50s.

    The second boat was carrying 9 adult men and one boy, who were taken ashore to be interviewed. They claimed to be Afghan, Iranian, and Nigerian nationals.

    Following the incidents on Wednesday and Thursday, the total number of suspected migrants found trying to enter the UK since last November shot up to around 793.

    A total of 1,050 have crossed the Dover Strait, which is the world's most active shipping lane.

    Two migrants in the space of a month are feared to have been killed attempting to make the perilous swim across the Channel to the UK. 

    One who is presumed dead is a 31-year old Iranian woman named Mitra Mehrad, who fell off a dinghy around 20 miles off Ramsgate when she and other migrants attempted the journey.

    She was reportedly studying for a PhD in psychology, as reported by the Mail.

    The MP for Dover, Charlie Elphicke, has launched a scathing attack against French authorities for failing to secure their border, predicting a "summer of chaos."

    "Day by day there are more arrivals" he said.

    "Urgent action is needed by the Home Office and French authorities before there are more tragedies in the English channel."

    Elphike is demanding 24/7 aerial surveillance of the Channel so migrants can be spotted and turned back to France.

    "The best deterrent is that no migrants or trafficker should be able to succeed in breaking into Britain," he added.

    Border patrol officers are now beginning to take photographs of migrants which arrive after they're brought to Dover.

    A Home Office spokesman warned that "Anyone crossing the Channel in a small boat is taking a huge risk with their life and the lives of their children."

    "Since December, two cutters have returned to UK waters from overseas operations, we have agreed a joint action plan with France and increased activity out of the Joint Coordination and Information Centre in Calais."

    He went on to say adamantly that "those in need of protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach."

    "Since January more than 60 people who arrived illegally in the UK in small boats have been returned to Europe," he added.

    A spokesman for the coastguard said: "We are committed to safeguarding life around the seas and coastal areas of this country."

    "HM Coastguard is only concerned with preservation of life, rescuing those in trouble and bringing them safely back to shore, where they will be handed over to the relevant partner emergency services or authorities."

    BBC South East investigation released in November 2019 showed that some migrants are incentivised by Brexit to get to Britain quickly before the it leaves the EU and borders are 'shut properly.'

    The European refugee crisis has continued to ramp up in 2019. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), 34,196 people have risked their lives trying to reach Europe by sea in 2019 alone, with 669 so far potentially having drowned in the attempt.

    The crisis began around 2015 following the Libyan and Syrian civil wars, as well as other humanitarian episodes in African and the Middle East, many of which the British and French governments were a key actor. 

    In 2011, Prime Minister David Cameron and French Premier Nicolas Sarkozy were instrumental in driving up public support for NATO intervention and support for the Libyan opposition which overthrew Colonel Gaddafi.

    Migrants escaping North African countries such as Libya and Tunisia towards the Mediterranean have been a point of attention since the crisis began, seeing some boats tragically capsize off the coast of Italy.

    The migrant crisis has seen the proliferation of frustration among European citizens including Germany, France, and the UK who increasingly turn to populist and euroskeptic groups advocating more stringent border controls.

    Migration concerns in the UK also extend to concern over the free-movement of EU nationals.

    Alp Mehmet, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, revealed in a press release:

    "If these figures are accurate, bearing in mind that only yesterday the ONS described them as experimental, whatever else they show, they make clear that net migration remains far too high."

    "The number of EU nationals here is apparently much greater than we had been given to believe. Meanwhile, the high numbers from outside the EU continue apace."

    "Brexit is a golden opportunity to restore a degree of control, yet much more will need to be done beyond that. Indeed, 30 million people wish to see reductions in immigration."

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    Tags:
    Brexit, immigration, Dover, libya, refugee crisis, migrant crisis
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