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In 2022, 46,000 people crossed the Channel in small boats. In 2019 that number was 539. The crossing is dangerous and the criminal gangs who run the routes are exploiting desperate individuals. The small boat crossings create diplomatic headaches and political nightmares for politicians who try to take control of the situation, and immigration figures have become a hot button issue with voters.
Successive home secretaries have failed to tackle the problem – so where do we go from here? Are they trying to distract voters from a broader failure on immigration policy? What do we know, what other questions should we be asking, and where should we be looking for answers?