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UK Channel Clogged With Migrant Crossings

FILE: Members of the British military assist UK Border Force officers as migrants disembark at the port of Dover after being picked up crossing the English Channel from France on April 14, 2022.

More than 1,100 people crossed the Channel in small boats on Sunday, figures showed on Monday, as campaigners challenged the legality of a policy to deport some asylum seekers to Rwanda.

The Ministry of Defense said 1,160 migrants were detected in 25 boats in the 24 hours to midnight on Sunday, after 960 made the journey on Saturday.

The arrivals take the number of people having made the crossing this year to 27,384, nearly as many for the whole of 2021 when 28,526 were intercepted.

It is also the second time in two weeks that over 1,000 people have been picked up in a single day. A record 1,295 were brought ashore on August 22.

Irregular migration is a thorny political issue for the UK government, which promised to tighten borders after the country left the European Union.

It announced in April that it would remove some migrants whose asylum applications failed, sending them on a one-way ticket to Rwanda for resettlement.

Legal challenges prevented the deportation of the first batch of failed asylum seekers in June but the government has said it is undeterred.

Some asylum seekers, a union whose members would have to implement the removals, and groups supporting migrants are now challenging the move.

A five-day hearing is taking place at the High Court in London, focusing on internal government concerns about Rwanda's human rights record.

At an earlier hearing, judges were told there was concern about whether the policy would be enough of a deterrent for people trying to get to the UK.

The Channel is one of the world's busiest shipping routes. French authorities said over the weekend they had to rescue more than 500 people since Friday.

More people are thought to be attempting the crossing because of more favourable summer weather conditions.