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Babies and small children were among the 20-30 migrants to arrive in the UK after crossing the Channel today.
A toddler aged around four was pictured as they were carried into Dover Harbour by a Border Force officer before lunch time.
Rescue cutter boat HMS Searcher picked up the migrants at sea and brought them in. The toddler was followed by his mother close by.
Strong winds and rain closed the Harbour early on Friday afternoon.
A Border Force official carried the toddler, thought to be around four, off a boat to Dover
A baby was put in an emergency blanket and a life jacket as they were taken onto UK land
Yesterday 106 migrants braved the Channel crossing in small boats, taking the number to reach the UK this year to nearly 9,000.
Today’s arrivals came as deputy prime minister Dominic Raab admitted that the number deported to Rwanda is likely to be only ‘hundreds’ each year.
Boris Johnson had promised tens of thousands could be offshored for processing.
Mr Raab said he wanted to ‘manage expectations’ about the plan to give people deemed to have arrived in the UK illegally a one-way ticket to the east African nation.
When announced last month, Boris Johnson said tens of thousands of people could be flown there under a five-year deal costing taxpayers £120million.
Another tiny toddler is held by two Border Force workers amid strong wind and rain today
But asked today on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme how many were likely to be sent, Mr Raab said: ‘I would have thought it was more likely to be in the hundreds.’
The Home Office previously disputed suggestions that modelling by its own officials indicated that only 300 people a year could be sent to Kigali.
Hotels and facilities are being prepared for the migrants in Rwanda, where Home Secretary Priti Patel hopes to send the first batch of illegal migrants within weeks.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister said he wanted to ‘manage expectations’ about the plan to give people deemed to have arrived in the UK illegally a one-way ticket to the east African nation.
Hotels and facilities are being prepared for the migrants in the capital of Kigali, where Home Secretary Priti Patel (pictured) hopes to send the first batch of migrants within weeks
Under the scheme, for which Rwanda is set to be paid £120million, migrants arriving on small boats from France will immediately be transferred to Rwanda, where their paperwork will be processed.
If their bids to seek asylum in the UK fail, they will be left in Rwanda.
Ongoing legal challenges from charities and a civil service union risk delaying the policy’s rollout for weeks or even months.
Care4Calais and Detention Action are the charities making legal claims against the policy, as is the Public and Commercial Services union. (Pictured: Migrants arriving at Dover on May 17)
A general view shows the Desir Resort Hotel, which is being prepared to host asylum seekers sent to Rwanda from Britain, in Kigali, Rwanda
More than 100 cross the Channel despite Rwanda threat
According to official government figures three boats made the treacherous voyage from France to England yesterday.
Two boats made it in the early hours despite thunder storms and were brought into the harbour at Dover.
Around 15 in another boat were rescued in the Channel late on Thursday evening and brought into Ramsgate harbour by an RNLI lifeboat.
French coastguard officials said a further 69 people had to be rescued after a number of boats got into difficulty trying to make the crossing.
43 were rescued in one incident off Calais and were taken back into the French harbour while another 26 were picked up by the French navy.
The latest arrivals on the Kent coast takes the number of migrants to reach the UK after crossing in small boats to 2,110 this month so far and 8,912 for this year to date – a tally not reached until late July last year.
According to Home Office figures 28,526 migrants crossed the Channel in 2021 – significantly higher than the 8,410 who arrived in 2020.
Conditions in the Channel were said to be calm but rainy today with attempts to make the crossing possible.
In legal letters sent this week, the rights groups claimed the policy breaches the refugee convention and human rights law, leading the government to delay the first deportation flights until after June 6.
Care4Calais and Detention Action are the charities making legal claims against the policy, as is the Public and Commercial Services union.
They are also thought to be preparing legal claims for individual migrants.
Boris Johnson said last weekend that 50 asylum seekers have already been told they are due to be flown to the East African nation within a fortnight, which would be the end of May, but anticipated opposition to the move.
Campaigners said they received notice on Wednesday evening that the Rwanda flights will now not take place until at least June 6.
It comes as an inquiry is launched into the handling of the deal amid accusations of Parliament being bypassed.
Priti Patel said on Wednesday that work was taking place ‘right now’ to roll out the deportation policy as part of plans to curb Channel crossings, and discussed progress on the agreement in a meeting with Rwandan foreign minister Vincent Biruta yesterday.
The Home Secretary said she was ‘pushing ahead with delivering this world-leading plan which epitomises the kind of international approach that is required to tackle an international challenge like the migration crisis’.
Since the start of this year, 8,697 people have reached the UK after navigating busy shipping lanes from France in small boats, according to analysis of Government data by the PA news agency.
Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has said that sending refugees to Rwanda will cut down on people-smuggling gangs.
Asked when the first deportation flights to Rwanda will take place, Mr Raab told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that it would happen ‘as soon as possible’.
‘I think we’ve shown whether it’s Hong Kong, Afghanistan or Ukraine, the big-hearted welcome that we will show those fleeing persecution, but what you don’t want to do is have a frankly, criminal gangs pursuing criminal routes.’
Crossings resumed on Thursday, amid bad weather at sea, after none were recorded on Wednesday.
But campaigners including Care4Calais say they have ‘serious concerns’ about the policy and plan to bring a judicial review.
Boss Clare Moseley said they are still working to get hold of Channel migrants detained in Home Office facilities awaiting deportation.
She said: ‘So far we have found six of these people and their stories are heartbreaking, people who have escaped from cruel horrors in their home countries and suffered forced labour, torture and exploitation on long journeys to reach safety here.
‘Yet now they are facing a terrifying ordeal of further deportation across the globe to a country where they will never feel safe.’
It comes after a trainee engineer from Sudan, who is among the Channel migrants bound for Rwanda if and when flights commence, said he would rather kill himself in detention than be sent away.
He said: ‘I will kill myself before I get deported, if the UK as a government and a country cannot uphold human rights, who will?’
According to the Home Office, Mr Biruta and Ms Patel met representatives including the high commissioner for refugees and the deputy high commissioner for human rights.
The department said the pair reinforced their ‘commitment to working in collaboration with UN agencies’ on the deportation plan and ’emphasised’ that claims will be processed in accordance with the UN Refugee Convention.
Mr Biruta said: ‘While the UNHCR are entitled to their views on this partnership, they have no reason to doubt our motivations or our ability to offer sanctuary and opportunity to those seeking it – as we already are doing so for 130,000 refugees.
‘We welcome the opportunity to discuss this partnership with colleagues in the UNHCR to address their concerns and advance their understanding of what we’re proposing.’
A Home Office spokesman said: ‘Our new, world-leading migration partnership with Rwanda will see those who make dangerous, illegal or unnecessary journeys to the UK relocated to Rwanda and, if recognised as refugees, they will be supported to build a new life there.
‘We are putting this plan into action and have started to notify those who are in scope to be relocated, with the first flights expected to take place in the coming months.’
It comes as an inquiry is being launched into the handling of the policy.
Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town, who chairs the International Agreements Committee, lamented how the deal had not been debated or approved by Parliament before it was signed.
A Sudanese asylum seeker among the first destined for Rwanda said he is prepared to kill himself rather than be sent to the east African nation. Pictured, A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent on May 9
Ali said he arrived in the UK by boat on May 9, along with around a dozen other Sudanese migrants. File image from May 9 of people thought to be migrants arriving in Cover, Kent
The House of Lords heard this was because the type of deal, known as a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), is not legally binding.
However, peers argued that MoUs should not be used as a way around parliamentary scrutiny.
Labour’s Lady Hayter told the Lords: ‘Perhaps more importantly and certainly more urgently is the issue of deals being signed by way of Memoranda of Understanding rather than by treaty.
‘This means they do not even have to be disclosed to Parliament, let alone laid and debated here.
‘I raised this in a private notice question on April 25 in regard to the Rwanda deal – deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda.
‘That was done by MoU without any debate or approval by Parliament.
‘And I can tell the House that just today, this morning, the committee has launched an inquiry on this and we will have a call for evidence on the MoU on our website shortly.’
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has urged both countries to reconsider the arrangement.
The number of migrants who have come to the UK on small boats is significantly higher than what it was at this point last year
A record 28,395 migrants reached the UK illegally last year in small boats over the Channel, a 200 per cent increase on 2020
Foreign Office minister Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park said the MoU with Rwanda built upon wider collaboration with the country, including on climate change and more effective aid delivery.
He said: ‘A non-legally binding arrangement in the form of an MoU is, the Government believes, the most effective vehicle as it allows the partnership to change and the technical details to be adjusted quickly if required and with the agreement of both partners.’
Intervening, Liberal Democrat Lord Purvis of Tweed said the Home Secretary and her ministerial colleague in the Lords needed ‘to correct the record’.
He said: ‘They have actively misled Parliament by saying these are binding obligations.
‘He has now absolutely contradicted what Priti Patel told the House of Commons and what Baroness Williams told this chamber. Both cannot be correct.’
Lord Goldsmith said he was not aware an error had been made and pointed out an MoU on international migration was not uncommon.