taking arrivals for April to over 400 - the highest monthly total ever recorded
- The two young migrant girls are believed to be around the age of three and four
- April will be a record month for crossings as the total could already exceed 400
- Sea conditions were 'absolutely perfect' for the crossing, with a gentle breeze
More than 70 migrants - including a young girl wearing Disney-style 'Happily Ever After' pyjamas - have been brought into Dover today.
It means April will be a record month for crossings as the total could already exceed 400, compared to the previous record of at least 336 refugees known to have landed last August.
At least three children - including two young girls - were seen being brought ashore as migrants continued to cross the Channel to Britain's south coast.
A charity described the news as 'heartbreaking' as it renewed calls for the Government to establish 'safe and legal routes' for those making the dangerous crossing to the UK amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The 76 migrants arrived from locations including Iran, Yemen, Syria and Kuwait between 1am and 8am and are now being assessed by immigration officials, a spokeswoman for the Home Office said.
The total number of migrants believed to have crossed into the UK so far this year is at least 831 - fast approaching half of the 1,850 who made it to Britain throughout the whole of 2019.
Pictures show immigration enforcement officials wearing masks and gloves leading women and children ashore in Dover.
One young girl wearing pink Disney-style princess pyjamas - which bore the words 'Happily Ever After' - was helped out of a cabin by a woman wearing a mask as an official stood nearby, images show.
She was pictured in the pink PJs - which feature characters Cinderella, Belle and Sleeping Beauty - at the Port of Dover.
Both children were also snapped waving and putting their thumbs up with adults.
They were all wrapped in blankets, wearing purple beanie hats and face masks which were given to them.
Sea conditions were 'absolutely perfect' for crossing, with a gentle breeze and 'warmish' weather.
Coastguard crew and the Dover Lifeboat have been helping Border Force vessels Vigilant and Speedwell in the rescue operation.
In a separate incident, French rescue teams were called out to sea after a group of 16 migrants were thought to have gone overboard.
But by 8am they were all found unharmed, having coming ashore on various beaches near Calais in the northern part of the French coast, the coastguard for the region, le Prefecture Maritime de la Manche, said.
Stephen Hale, the chief executive of charity Refugee Action, said: 'It's heartbreaking that people including young children are having to risk their lives to seek refuge in the UK due to a lack of safe and legal routes to get here.
'The Government must stop talking tough and start thinking smart.
'More routes for people to claim protection in the UK must be created, including a long-term commitment to resettle 10,000 refugees every year.'
Minister for Immigration Compliance and the Courts Chris Philp said today: 'We will not stand by whilst malicious criminals prey on the vulnerable.
'Criminal gangs are using false promises to take advantage of desperate situations and illegally smuggle people into the UK.
'We are determined to stop this criminal trade and stop these crossings.
'We will enforce the law and we will seek justice.
'The Home Secretary and her French counterpart have reaffirmed their joint commitment and dedication to tackling this exploitative crime.
'We are continuing to support the French to deploy extra patrols on French beaches, drones, specialist vehicles and detection equipment to stop these boats leaving European shores.
'To the criminals we say this – your heinous crimes will not be tolerated and we will work tirelessly to bring you to justice.'
The news comes a week after another 73 migrants made the crossing to Kent, prompting the Home Secretary Priti Patel to say she was 'determined' to stop illegal Channel crossings, adding: 'I will not stand by whilst malicious criminals prey on the vulnerable.'
But her pledge prompted charity leaders to call for the Government to rethink its approach, with one telling Ms Patel to 'stop chasing unicorns'.
Earlier this week the Home Office announced the UK and Greece had signed a migration action plan, pledging to work together to tackle illegal migration in Europe.
The department refused to provide specifics of the plan, other than to confirm a Border Force cutter would continue to patrol the Aegean.
Since January 2019, over 155 people who entered the UK illegally on small boats have been returned to Europe.
Meanwhile, Dame Emma Thompson and other stars have backed calls for the Home Secretary to end restrictions which could prevent thousands of migrants in the UK from accessing financial support during the coronavirus crisis.
More than 800 migrants have already reached the UK this year - four times the number for the same period last year, despite Home Secretary Priti Patel's promise of a clampdown on crossings.
Those arriving last week were brought into Dover, Kent, around 7am and it is thought they may have all been crammed on one small boat despite the coronavirus crisis.
Border Force officers were seen fitting face masks to the migrants. Last week MailOnline confirmed that none of the migrants stopped since the outbreak of coronavirus have been tested.
Instead, the Home Office said it will observe asylum seekers for symptoms of the virus and isolate those were necessary.
Any person showing symptoms will be isolated, including those in detention centres, where special isolation areas have been set up, the Home Office say.
A spokesperson said the policy is in line with guidance from Public Health England (PHE).
It has sparked Dover MP, Natalie Elphicke, to call for those attempting to enter the country illegally to be sent back to France or be put in an immediate 14 day quarantine.
She said: 'France's lockdown means people need permission just to walk the dog. So how come hundreds of migrants can still pile into small boats and illegally motor into Britain?
'We know that the coronavirus has infected the French camps.
'The French have been paid tens of millions of pounds to stop these dangerous journeys being made - it's vital the Home Office make the French honour their obligations in order to stop the further spread of the virus into Britain.
'I have long said that anyone seeking to break into Britain should be immediately returned to France.'
She added: 'Given the public health risk, anyone arriving who is not returned must be immediately quarantined for 14 days to protect public health - and safeguard the Port of Dover's vital role in supplying the nation with food and medicines.'
Tony Eastaugh, Home Office director for crime and enforcement, said: 'These crossings are facilitated by criminals. We are doing everything in our power to bring them to justice and stop this illegal activity.
'We are working around the clock with the NCA and French law enforcement agencies to arrest and dismantle organised crime gangs. Since January 2019, 110 people smugglers have been convicted and imprisoned and over 155 people who arrived on small boats have been returned.
'And that's not all, there are now extra patrols on French beaches, drones, specialist vehicles and detection equipment to stop small boats leaving European shores.'
The new arrivals join at least 336 who crossed the channel in April alone.
This year's figure is approaching half of the 1,850-odd who made it to Britain throughout the whole of 2019.