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More child asylum seekers arrive in Dover as Home Office faces threat of legal action from Kent County Council


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More asylum seeker children have come into Dover after crossing the English Channel today (Monday) as local children’s services say they are at breaking point.

One young boy was said to be seen coming in, in bare feet.

People arrive in Dover following a small boat incident in the Channel. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA
People arrive in Dover following a small boat incident in the Channel. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA

The arrivals were first reported in national media and KentOnline.

The Home Office has now told Kent Online that the French intercepted two crossing,s preventing 55 people entering Britain.

Meanwhile UK authorities dealt with three events involving 93 people.

A spokesman said: "More than 4,000 people have been prevented from making the dangerous crossing so far this year and we are cracking down on the despicable criminal gangs behind people smuggling."

But Kent County Council has threatened legal action against the Home Secretary, saying it faces extreme pressure on its services for unaccompanied child migrants.

Meanwhile, Home Secretary Priti Patel told MPs that people are “absolutely fed up and demoralised” by the number of migrants crossing via the English Channel.

A group of people are brought in to Dover.Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA
A group of people are brought in to Dover.Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA

Also today police confirmed that the body of a baby found on a Norwegian beach is that of a Kurdish-Iranian boy who went missing in the English Channel last October.

Fifteen-month-old Artin was on board an overcrowded migrant boat heading for the UK with his parents and two siblings when it capsized, claiming all five of their lives.

His family, confirmed dead at the time, were his brother and sister Armin and Anita and parents Rasoul Iran-Nejad and Shiva Mohammad Pahani.

Artin's body is set to be returned to his family in his home country of Iran, Norwegian police told the PA news agency.

The family had sold their house before leaving Iran and paid £14,000 to get on to the boat, with a further £8,200 supposed to be due when they arrived safely in the UK.

"These children are completely alone and incredibly vulnerable..."

Kent County Council is threatening Priti Patel with legal action in a row about what happens to unaccompanied children who arrive in the town seeking asylum.

The authority said it may no longer be able to accept new unaccompanied asylum-seeking children within days. Council leader Roger Gough has said social workers are dealing with double the number of children deemed safe.

Its proposed judicial review asks Ms Patel to use existing powers to direct local authorities other than Kent to receive their fair share of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeker Children.

The council has served the Home Office a "Letter Before Action" after warning they are at "breaking point" and could be forced to refuse any more children "within days."

Clare Moseley, founder of migrant charity Care4Calais, said: “These children are completely alone and incredibly vulnerable.

Home Secretary Priti Patel. Picture: Home Office
Home Secretary Priti Patel. Picture: Home Office

“They have arrived in the UK after making a dangerous journey that would terrify most adults.

“The Government has a duty of care but once again it appears that legal action is the only way to make the Home Secretary to recognise this.”

Speaking to MPs, Ms Patel said her French counterparts “absolutely must do more” to respond to migrant numbers and reduce the chances of people attempting to cross the Channel.

Her remarks came as several Conservative MPs put pressure on the UK Government to act, with Border Force described as “little more than a taxi service for illegal migrants.”

Meanwhile, MPs today heard the Home Secretary’s decision on whether she would appeal against the High Court ruling on Napier Barracks was “imminent.”

Six asylum seekers previously housed in the former army barracks in Folkestone won a legal challenge against the Government last week after a judge ruled their accommodation was inadequate.

Home Office permanent secretary Matthew Rycroft said the department was studying the judgment “carefully” and “will work out what it means for our ongoing use of the barracks.”

The issue of asylum seekers landing in Kent has continued for years.

In most cases they are rescued in small boats by the Border Force and brought to Dover Western Docks fro interview and processing.

Sometimes they have landed by themselves in areas such as Kingsdown near Deal and Romney Marsh and been taken in by British authorities.

Read more: All the latest news from Dover

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