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Photo Credit: Gareth Fuller/ PA
Photo Credit: Gareth Fuller/ PA
Photo Credit: Gareth Fuller/ PA
Photo Credit: Gareth Fuller/ PA
UK News

'Every migrant has a name, face, and a story': Christian group responds to record- breaking migrant crossings

by Tola Mbakwe

A UK Christian charity that helps migrants from France has expressed grave concern over the number of migrants crossing the English Channel. 

At least 235 migrants made the dangerous journey across the world's busiest shipping lane on Thursday in 17 boats, setting a new single day record.

The crossings continued on Friday morning as calm waters remained amid warm and sunny weather.

Pictures showed Border Force officials escorting a young family ashore at Dover, Kent, after the body's vessels Seeker and Speedwell were both active in the Channel.

Meanwhile, BBC News filmed a boat with 17 migrants thought to be on board making the journey including a number of children and a pregnant woman.

Ben Bano heads Seeking Sanctuary, which promoting awareness of migrants near UK shores and provides humanitarian assistance to those currently stranded in and near Calais.

He told Premier there are a combination factors that have caused this spike in migrants.  

"The conditions in Calais and Dunkirk are absolutely terrible. The police are harassing the people who are there every day. They're confiscating anything they have. And so the migrants feel they've got no choice," he said. 

"Alongside all of that, we need to understand that the traffickers are hard at work trying to get business where they can, persuading the migrants that this is a safe thing to do, even though they're going in these tiny dinghies, which are extremely unsafe.

"The other issue is the sheer pressure of numbers coming from Greece and elsewhere for people who feel they've got no other hope."
There is speculation the Royal Navy could be drafted in to patrol the busy shipping lanes if the high number of migrant crossings continues. However, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has declined to deny those reports.

Thursday was the second time in just over a week that a new single-day record has been set, after 202 people crossed to the UK on July 30.

The Home Office has not yet provided a full breakdown of Thursday's crossings - which also included 15 migrants being apprehended on Dungeness beach - so the total number could be higher still.

Immigration Minister Chris Philp said he shares "the anger and frustration of the public" at the "appalling number" of crossings.
Meanwhile, Bano has urged the UK to not dehumanise the issue. He said he is especially concerned about unaccompanied minors. 

"I'm always minded by the words of Pope Francis, 'every migrant has a name, a face, and a story'. And that little phrase reminds me that these are individuals, these are people, these are our brothers and sisters in humanity," he said.

"Everything Jesus tells us is that we have to care for those who have less than we do. So for me, standing up for the rights of migrants and helping them and being a Christian goes hand in hand."

Listen to Premier's interview with Ben Bano here:

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