A record number of migrants were detained by British coast guards in a single day, amid what several reports indicate is a hike of Channel crossings fueled by fake news about the looming Brexit.
A combined 86 people were intercepted in six different boats by British border officials on Tuesday, the highest number of people detained in a single day, according to VRT.
One of the boats had 23 people on board, and the detained migrants were men, women and children, the outlet reported.
The hike has been attributed to “fake news” about Brexit being circulated by smugglers, who reportedly tell people hoping to reach Britain that the Channel will be closed after the Brexit date on October 31.
“Human smugglers spread fake news,” Pierre-Henri Dumont, MP in the northern coastal French city of Calais said, according to HLN.
“They tell the migrants that they will no longer be able to cross the Channel once Britain has left the European Union, but that’s a lie. It will not change anything,” added.
With 1,100 interceptions so far this year, the number of people intercepted by British or French coast guards as they attempt to cross the Channel into the U.K. has doubled since 2018, with 336 people detained in August alone.
“If smugglers use that as an argument to increase the pressure, then that will certainly play a role,” Sofie D’hulster of humanitarian aid group nzw Humain told VRT, referring to the hike in crossings, adding that migrants “listen to and believe what smugglers tell them.”