Border Force units continue to pick up child migrants crossing into UK

Child migrants continue to make it to UK: Border Force boat picks up more youngsters a day after body of one-year-old washed up on Norwegian coast is identified

  • Over 20 migrants picked up by Border Force after Channel incident this morning
  • Among them were young children, who continue to make the perilous journey
  • Dover councillors say the number of the arrivals have pushed their services ‘near breaking point’ as they struggle to cope with surge in demand 
  • Norwegian investigators revealed yesterday the body of a drowned 18-month-old Kurdish boy who died making the crossing last year washed up on their shore
  • Artin Iran-Nejad died alongside his family near Dunkirk in October last year

Infants were among those who continued to make dangerous journeys across the Channel today, just a day after the body of a Kurdish boy was discovered in Norway.

Pictures taken in Kent from this morning show more than 20 migrants, among them young children wrapped in lifejackets, aboard a boat headed for Dover’s shores. 

Seniors figures at Kent County Council have warned services are currently at ‘breaking point’ after over 1,000 people made the 21-mile crossing in the past week.

A Border Force unit collected several more youngsters this morning just a day after the perilous nature of migrant crossings was laid bare, as a one-year-old boy was identified after his body washed up on the Norwegian coast.  

The remains of Artin Iran-Nejad – an 18-month-old Iranian Kurdish boy – was found near the shores of Karmoy, some 900 miles from where he drowned near Dunkirk in October last year. 

More than 20 migrants, among them women and infants, were picked up by a UK Border Force vessel in Dover this morning

A young boy is pictured clutching onto a woman ahead of his arrival in Dover, Kent this morning

A UK Border Force boat was pictured collecting a group of more than 20 migrants who made the 21-mile journey across the English Channel today

The group of migrants were pictured aboard an official Border Force vessel in Dover, Kent this morning, following an extremely busy week for English Channel crossings. 

Migrant children wrapped in lifejackets have been arriving in the UK after crossing the Channel on Monday, as local children’s services warn they are at breaking point. 

Some 250 minors have made the dangerous journey across the Channel this year so far, including 50 over the recent Bank Holiday weekend.

Meanwhile, migrants continued to risk their lives by sailing across the Channel today, with 1,000 arriving last week alone and more than 4,500 making the crossing since the start of the year. 

The annual total is expected to exceed the 8,400 who made the journey in 2020. 

Border police escort child migrants ashore in Dover amid a fresh wave of migration that has seen more than 1,000 people make the crossing in the last week

The group of masked migrants confer with a member of UK Border Force as they prepare to enter the country

Underscoring the dangers of the journey, Norwegian investigators revealed yesterday that the body of Artin Iran-Nejad – an 18-month-old Iranian Kurdish boy – was found near their shores some 900 miles from where he drowned near Dunkirk in October last year. 

Four members of Artin’s family – including father Rasoul, mother Shiva, both 35, nine-year-old sister Anita and brother Armin, six – were confirmed dead after the small boat they were attempting to cross in capsized near the French coast in rough seas, but the toddler’s body was never found.

Yesterday, Norwegian investigators revealed his remains washed up near Karmoy, in the country’s southwest, on January 1 but they had been unable to identify him until this week.

Artin’s tragic journey had begun in Iran on August 7 last year after his parents ‘sold everything’ and reportedly paid smugglers £21,000, in the hopes of making a better life for themselves in the UK.

Their exact reasons for leaving Iran were not made clear by family members who spoke at the time, but Kurds are an oft-persecuted minority in Iran.

It is thought the family then made their way to Turkey, before catching a ferry to Italy and then riding in lorries into France where they arrived almost a month before the tragic sinking.

They then made three attempts to cross to the UK, where it is thought they had family. Two attempts via train failed, before their third doomed attempt on a boat.

Artin and his relatives had been crammed into the sightseeing boat with as many as 23 others – despite it only being designed to carry 18.

The family are thought to have been put in a cabin below deck, meaning they were trapped when the boat capsized on October 27 in rough seas.  

Artin Iran-Nejad, aged 15 months, was listed as missing after a boat carrying his family across the Channel capsized near France last year. His remains have now been identified by investigators in Norway, who say his body washed up on January 1

Norwegian investigators have released images of the clothes that Artin was wearing when his body was found in the ocean off Karmoy, in the southwest of the country, on New Year’s Day (pictured, his jacket is seen from the front)

Mr Iran-Nejad (left) and his wife, Shiva, (far right) with two rescue workers (centre) in a French migrant camp. The children are seen from left to right: Artin, Anita and Armin 

DNA testing subsequently confirmed that the body and the boy were one and the same. 

His surviving relatives have been informed, and his body is expected to be flown back to Iran for burial. 

The news comes as Kent County Council is said to be weighing up the decision to launch a judicial review to try to force Home Secretary Priti Patel to disperse newly arrived infants across the country after they arrive.

The authority said it may no longer be able to accept new unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) within days – a situation which came to pass in August 2020.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: ‘We recognise the longstanding role that Kent County Council has played in supporting unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and are extremely grateful for their contribution.

‘We continue to encourage more areas to join the National Transfer Scheme and do their part.’

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