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English Channel Boat Migrant Numbers Cross 30,000

The number of illegal migrants arriving in the United Kingdom after crossing the English Channel by boat has now surpassed 30,000.

The 30,000 threshold was broken on Thursday according to figures from the Home Office, the government department with broad responsibility for policing, national security, and border control.

Led until recently by Priti Patel MP, the Home Office stated that as of Thursday there were a total of  30,515 illegal arrivals as Britain has seen a surge of illegal boat crossings across the English Channel in the summer months of this year.

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In the first half of this year, the department recorded nearly 13,000 migrant arrivals across the Channel, while the month of August alone saw a total of 8,641 migrants enter the United Kingdom, the European Union-funded website InfoMigrants reports.

The former yearly record number of boat migrant arrivals, 28,526, was broken earlier this month as former Home Secretary Priti Patel resigned after failing to deliver on promises to reduce the number of illegal immigrant arrivals.

France, paid tens of millions by the British to control the crossings on their side of the Channel, this week announced thati had broken up a major people-smuggling network of Iraqi Kurdish background.

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Investigators announced on Thursday that the network, which operated near the northern French city of Lille, had made around 80 crossings of the English Channel since the start of the summer, and that 50 of the crossings made it to England — an indication of how (in)effective French efforts to turn back boats or stop them returning have been.

The smugglers are said to have made as much as €80,000 (£71,257/$77,744) per crossing.

The scale of the smuggling operation is one of the largest seen by French police as they were able to seize 13 boats that could carry up to 50 migrants each, 14 boat engines, 700 life jackets and 700 litres of fuel for the boats.

Smuggling gangs operate across northern France. Some were accused of being involved in shootings at a makeshift migrant camp earlier this month near Dunkirk.

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One young Iraqi man caught up in the violence was shot in the head and rushed to a hospital in Lille.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)

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