Patel Criticises Illegals ‘Shopping Around’ for Asylum, Vows ‘Firm and Fair’ Refugee System

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The Home Secretary promised “the biggest overhaul of our asylum system in decades” at Conservative Party conference on Sunday. She said a major problem of the current system is that it does not differentiate between asylum seekers who go through the proper channels to apply for refugee status and others such as criminal migrants trying to game the asylum system by filing “repeated legal challenges to stop their deportation, followed by numerous meritless asylum claims so they could stay in our country”.

She also singled out illegal aliens who cross the English Channel by boat, after “travelling through multiple safe EU countries, France, Italy, Spain, shopping around for where they can claim asylum, making that final and extremely dangerous Channel crossing to the United Kingdom while lining the pockets of despicable international criminal gangs”.

“Our broken system is enabling this international criminal trade,” which she said was disadvantaging those with legitimate claims.

From next year, Ms Patel said: “I will introduce a new system that is firm and fair. Fair and compassionate towards those that need our help, fair by welcoming people through safe and legal routes, but firm, because we will stop the abuse of the system. Firm because we stop those who come here illegally from making endless legal claims to remain in our country at the expense of the British public. And firm because we will expedite the removal of those who have no legitimate claim for protection.”

While she said that changes would not be immediate, she said that in the meantime, her department would “accelerate our operational response to illegal migration. We will continue to hunt down the criminal gangs who traffic people into our country. I will continue to use the full force of our national crime agency and intelligence agency to go after them.”

Earlier on Sunday, The Times reported details on the new plans, which includes the notable policy that claimants who land in boats after crossing the English Channel or arrive by other illegal means will be denied asylum, with courts being told to send them back to the last safe European country they were in. Rejected asylum seekers will also be barred from making repeated baseless claims.

Migration Watch UK welcomed the proposed revamp of the country’s asylum system. The think tank’s chairman Alp Mehmet said in a press release seen by Breitbart London: “This is a courageous attempt by the Home Secretary to reform an asylum system that has been abused for too long. It deserves the support of other government departments and Parliament.”

In an interview with The Times on Sunday, the home secretary said: “Our asylum system is effectively allowing international criminality to abuse our system and — shockingly — to elbow the most vulnerable people who need help and support to the side.”

“That is morally indefensible. It is a system that is broken beyond belief,” she added.

Ms Patel also said that the Home Office would “create new safe and legal routes for those people that are fleeing persecution and oppression”, working with the United Nations and refugee groups to identify these people in migrant camps in the Middle East. She stated that in terms of resettlement schemes, Britain had taken in more Syrians “than any other EU country”.

She also criticised “well-known legal firms” which have abused the current asylum system and profited “by using judicial review, immigration review and immigration bail. We could be in the process of trying to remove someone on a particular day, and they put another appeal in. We see people using human rights, modern-day slavery, as reasons why they cannot be removed.

“We need to be able to remove foreign national offenders who have come to our country, violated our laws and taken part in the most abhorrent criminality, served their time in prison and yet we find it difficult to remove them because they came up with appeals.”

The home secretary’s remarks come after a Times investigation revealed that deported criminal migrants were reentering the UK and fighting second deportations by using the Human Rights Act, EU family laws, and claiming to be victims of modern slavery.