The deaths of at least 27 people in the English Channel is fueling tensions between the UK and France over how to stop migrants from crossing the world’s busiest waterway in small boats.
Despite a pledge from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron that they would “do everything possible” to stop people smugglers from endangering lives, politicians on both sides of the channel are already blaming their counterparts for failing to prevent Wednesday’s tragedy.
UK officials criticised France for rejecting their offer of British police and border officers to conduct joint patrols along the channel coast with French police.
French authorities say Britain is stoking the crisis because it is too easy for migrants to remain in the country and work if they manage to cross the channel.
Meanwhile, migrants are continuing to brave frigid weather in small boats and unseaworthy dinghies in the hope of reaching British shores to seek asylum or better opportunities.
More than 25-thousand people have made the dangerous Channel crossing so far this year, about triple the total for the whole of 2020.