A series of extraordinary images has been revealed by French border guards escorting a shipload of 16 migrants into British waters and "depositing" them there.
The incident was observed yesterday morning from a fishing boat about 12 miles from Folkestone near the Franco-British maritime border.
The pictures show the moment when a French rubber dinghy or RIB with two border guards was cleared by a larger naval ship to check the migrants.
But instead of preventing them from entering British waters, they allowed the illegal crossing to continue.
Most of the 16 on board the small inflatable boats were Afghan nationals, including two children and two women.
A passenger on the fishing boat said he called the UK Border Force shortly after 7.45 a.m. because it looked like the overloaded ship was about to sink. The migrants used cut plastic bottles to rescue them.
Danger zone: The overcrowded migrant boat chugs over the busiest lane in the world and takes in water all the time
Just for control: the French RIB is racing towards the migrants who are sailing through French waters in dangerous conditions
Mind how you go: But the French don't do anything, even though the migrant boat is so deep in choppy water and the wind is howling
Flashpoint: The area of the English Channel off the coast of Sangatte, France, where the drama took place yesterday morning
The Border Force Cutter Hunter later picked them up before bringing them back to Dover.
A witness on the fishing boat said: “We thought the French guards on the RIB would bring you back, but they continued to escort you down the northeast lane of the canal and into British waters. They pretty much just dumped them there.
“We called the Border Force because it looked like they were going down. It was very, very choppy and windy. & # 39;
Tory MP Tim Loughton, who sits on the parliamentary committee on home affairs, said: "This is further evidence that the French are happy to provide escort services for people trying to illegally enter the UK instead of turning them around."
He said further evidence that the French are not doing enough to ensure that migrants file asylum applications in France – rather than undertaking dangerous channel crossings – came from witnesses working with migrants in France and was turned over to the selection committee yesterday.
Migrants packed in a small dinghy had to rescue water after the raft began to sink while trying to cross the canal
Time is running out: the desperate migrants now in English waters are using hollowed-out plastic containers to save themselves
Eventually the British Border Force boat arrived to rescue the occupants of the vehicle before it sank and took them aboard
Brought to safety: The British crew accompanied the mostly Afghan asylum seekers on their boat and brought them to the coast
The dinghy carried more than a dozen migrants trying to get to Britain despite high winds at sea
The boat with men, women and children was intercepted by Border Force officers near the Kent coast
A second boat is said to have landed on Kingsdown Beach near Deal in Kent
He added: "It is clear that the French’s first priority is to make their problem our problem."
Dover MP Natalie Elphicke told the Mail: “Safety at sea begins with stopping small boats leaving the French coasts. They need to be turned closer to land at the earliest possible time. & # 39;
France's border forces stop some boats, but it's often a small fraction of the number it crosses.
For example, 151 migrants reached British shores on Tuesday on 11 boats, compared with 36 on three boats stopped and sent back by the French.
They were seen using plastic bottles to desperately get rid of the water that flooded the dinghy
So far, 1,464 migrants have arrived in September, including a daily record of 416 on 28 boats on September 2nd
The British Border Force was believed to be dealing with three other boats that arrived last night. This means that the total number of those who have successfully crossed the UK coasts this year has exceeded 6,500. Another 168 made it on Monday.
Interior Minister Priti Patel has urged the French authorities to turn back more boats.
But French officials are demanding that Britain pay £ 30 million to fund patrols on the beaches of northern France.
In July, Ms. Patel met her French counterpart Gérald Darmanin and they agreed to set up a new Franco-British unit in Calais to contain crossings.
A migrant father wearing a face mask, puffer jacket and Adidas tracksuit was photographed yesterday with his wife and two children on the coastal path at Kingsdown Beach in Deal
Interior ministry officials are said to be considering plans to curb human rights law to facilitate the departure of illegal ship arrivals.
Charities have warned that trying to make the crossings "unprofitable", as Ms. Patel promised, could result in more deaths. Maddy Allen of Help Refugees told the Home Affairs Committee that migrants could continue to spread along the French coast before crossing.
She said, "This will directly lead to an increase in water deaths from crossing larger bodies of water."
Around 400 people, including families believed to have crossed the canal in small boats, are slated to move to temporary accommodation at Napier Barracks in Folkestone, Kent, starting next week
Ms. Allen said she hoped the crossings would stop as it was an “incredibly dangerous journey”, adding, “As the Home Office and its French colleagues are keen to make this route unprofitable – blocking access to beaches, increase securitization, make investments – I think there are likely a number of options that could emerge.
“People will start making these crossings from further away, we're already seeing that.
“And it will continue to expand up and down the coast. And that will directly lead to an increase in water deaths because you are crossing a larger body of water to take this trip. & # 39;
Beth Gardiner-Smith, General Manager of Safe Passage UK, said: “I would hope they could (make the route unprofitable). We don't want people to cross by boat.
“I'm not sure it's realistic without serious investment in more local support in northern France, more support to get people into the system, and safer and more legal options for people to come to the UK under certain circumstances.
"So no, I don't think it's realistic at this point."
The charities told the committee that the coronavirus pandemic was likely to have triggered the recent spike in crossbreeds, and also warned that migrant children in northern France who have relatives in the UK are facing delays in processing applications to join their gangs in families are pushed into the hands of human trafficking gangs.
The hearing came when it emerged that channel migrants should be housed in military barracks while their asylum applications are being processed.
Starting next week, around 400 people, including families, will be temporarily housed at Napier Barracks in Folkestone, Kent.
A barracks in Pembrokeshire, Wales is also being considered for use by the Home Office, according to the PA News Agency.
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