AT LEAST 235 migrants in 17 boats made the dangerous crossing over the world’s busiest shipping lane on Thursday.

In Sussex, we regularly hear of migrants arriving along the county’s coast. But this was a new single day record in the UK, and already the hatred has begun.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage described their arrival as a “shocking invasion”.

Among those who landed on the beach in Kent was a heavily pregnant woman. There were children, too.

This was no invasion. These were vulnerable people risking their lives.

Nobody would put themself in such danger unless they absolutely had to.

As reporters in Brighton, we often cover migrant crossings.

The number of people making the journey may be high, but some details are constant.

Looking back over the stories my colleagues and I have written, so often, there are children on board.

These people are desperate. Some of those who arrived in Kent told reporters they were from Iraq. Many have come from countries devastated by conflict.

They deserve our support. But hatred doesn’t help.

What does? Tough borders? Sending migrants back to where they came from?

There is speculation the Royal Navy could be drafted in to patrol the Channel if the high number of migrant crossings continues.

Home Secretary Priti Patel tweeted: “The number of illegal small boat crossings is appalling and unacceptably high. The figures are shameful.

“France and other EU states are safe countries. Genuine refugees should claim asylum there, not risk their lives and break the law by coming to the UK.”

Ms Patel said she was “working to make this route unviable” by preventing boats from leaving France as well as intercepting and returning those attempting to make a crossing.

But anyone can see this doesn’t address the root of the problem.

Human rights charity Detention Action has accused the Home Office of “fuelling chaos, criminality and untold trauma for those who feel forced to make these dangerous crossings”.

The charity’s director Bella Sankey said the Government had “lost control and all credibility on this issue”.

“Trying to make this route ‘unviable’ through greater enforcement is naive grandstanding and amounts to more of the same,” she said.

“What is needed is recognition that people who reach France will have valid claims to protection in the UK and the urgent development of safe and legal routes for them to do so.

“This would end the crossings overnight and ensure we are standing by our age-old tradition of protecting those seeking sanctuary on our shores.”

Mr Farage made his “invasion” comments as he posted a video on social media showing half a dozen people getting out of an inflatable dingy on a beach.

The migrants were entitled to claim asylum. Some were children.

I cannot understand how anyone could look at a child and their family arriving on a beach and think such foul thoughts – let alone publish them.

Not after the death of Alan Kurdi.

He was three years old when his body washed up on a beach near Bodrum in Turkey.

In 2015, there was outcry after a photograph showed him dead in the arms of a Turkish police officer.

He was a little boy.

His family had escaped Isis in Syria, and they were looking for sanctuary.

Alan’s four-year-old brother Ghalib and their mother Rehanna died in the same boat journey, along with nine others.

More than 20 million people saw the photograph in 12 hours. At the time, people asked how we could turn our backs on refugees. Have we forgotten? What will it take to remind us?

Many people who feel hatred towards migrants have never spoken to somebody who has had to leave their country. They have not heard what they have to say.

One of the ways those in power stoke hatred is by dehumanising migrants. Calling women and children who travel miles across dangerous seas to find safety an “invasion” robs them of their humanity.

It creates a gulf between us – when in truth, if you saw what they had to go through, if you spoke with them, you would be moved.

A local fisherman who discovered Alan’s body on the shore in Turkey said: “I came to the sea and I was scared. My heart is broken.”

If you could see it – if you could hear their stories, you would welcome these people who have braved so much and suffered so greatly. We must be kind to each other, while there is still time.