Home Secretary Priti Patel blamed social media giants for the growing number of asylum seekers making the perilous Channel crossing to Kent.

She says the videos on TikTok, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter “glamorize” the “deadly passages” and that it is “totally unacceptable” that the posts have remained in place.

Priti Patel wrote to social media giants Photo: Gary Browne

Ms Patel has come under increasing pressure after the number of people crossing the world’s busiest seaway on fragile boats increased under her watch.

She has repeatedly promised to make the route “unsustainable,” but has now written to web companies asking them to take action.

Nearly 600 asylum seekers have been intercepted as they attempted to cross the English Channel in three days this week.

Ms Patel’s letter, sent on Saturday, follows a viral video posted on TikTok which the Home Office said appeared to show a group of men crossing the Channel in a dinghy.

Similar posts have appeared on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and are used by smugglers to promote crossings to desperate migrants, the interior ministry added.

A baby is lifted from a small boat in <a class=Dover Photo: Chris Johnson” data-root=”/_media/img/” data-path=”WX1WRRXCJTUNSOZ6AFUW.jpg” data-ar=”1.44″/>
A baby is lifted from a small boat in Dover Photo: Chris Johnson

Ms Patel said: “Messages that promote and even glamorize these deadly passages are totally unacceptable. They encourage others to leave a safe European country and put their lives and the lives of their families in danger and are even used by smugglers to promote their murderous business.

“What these articles do not mention are the people who died trying to make this crossing, or those who were forced to spend 13 hours in dilapidated boats in freezing waters.”

A young Sudanese boy was found dead and stranded on a beach in Sangatte, France, last August.

And last October, four asylum seekers, including two children aged eight and five, drowned when their boat capsized off Dunkirk.

Earlier this week, the High Court ruled that the Home Secretary acted illegally in housing asylum seekers in the former “squalid” Napier Barracks military camp in Folkestone – which has fallen into disrepair since soldiers live there.

Photos show inside Napier Barracks in Folkestone Photo: Independent Chief Inspector for Borders and Immigration
Photos show inside Napier Barracks in Folkestone Photo: Independent Chief Inspector for Borders and Immigration

Meanwhile, the Home Office is investigating an incident in which migrants attempting to cross the Channel were allegedly picked up from French waters by British border forces and taken to Dover.

Regarding recent crossings, the Home Office confirmed that French authorities had dealt with eight incidents involving 130 people on Friday, with the UK dealing with four boats involving 83 people.

This follows 201 people arrested by border force officers in eight incidents on Thursday.

And French authorities intercepted nine crossings on Wednesday and Thursday preventing 171 people from reaching the United Kingdom.

That makes a total of 585 crossing attempts in just three days.

Asylum seekers brought to Dover Western Docks Photo: Chris Johnson
Asylum seekers brought to Dover Western Docks Photo: Chris Johnson

The number of people crossing the 21-mile stretch of water has nearly doubled so far in 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, with more than 3,100 reaching English shores by the end of May.

Anti-immigration protests took place in Dover last weekend with protesters blocking access to major shopping terminals and four people arrested.

Enver Solomon, chief executive officer of the Refugee Council, said: “This government’s approach to tackling the Channel crossings is not working and is doomed to fail.

“The reality is that when fleeing war, terror and persecution, ordinary people are forced to take extraordinary measures to seek refuge in another country.

“Instead of relying solely on a coercive approach to stop railway crossings, this government must expand safe routes so that people do not have to risk their lives by taking dangerous journeys at the mercy of criminals and smugglers.

“Creating safe and regular routes to the UK – through an expanded resettlement program, humanitarian visas and reform of restrictive family reunification rules – is the way to effectively tackle the problem. “

Read more: All the latest news from Dover

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