Twenty-seven boats made the journey, according to the UK’s Ministry of Defense. As channel crossings continued into Tuesday, around 40 people including young children were rescued and brought ashore in Dover, southern England, by the UK’s Border Force.
The English Channel, a narrow waterway between Britain and France, is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.
Refugees and migrants fleeing conflict, persecution and poverty in the world’s poorest or war-torn countries risk the dangerous crossing, often in dinghies unfit for the voyage and at the mercy of people smugglers, hoping to claim asylum or economic opportunities in Britain.
Last November, 27 people drowned in bitterly cold waters off the coast of France after an inflatable boat carrying migrants bound for Britain capsized, in one of the deadliest incidents in the English Channel in recent years.
Patel described Rwanda as “a safe haven for refugees” as the UK vowed to push ahead with the controversial scheme.