The Home Secretary laid out plans for new legislation that would “overhaul” the UK’s asylum system by offering different refugees different statuses based on whether they had arrived in the UK legally. The Government believes the changes to the system will tackle human traffickers and smugglers.
Ms Patel, appearing on LBC with Nick Ferrari, defended the controversial new legislation.
She told the host: “If people arrive illegally, they will no longer have the same entitlements as those who arrive legally, and it will be harder for them to stay.
“If, like over 60 percent of illegal arrivals, they have travelled through a safe country like France to get here, they will not have immediate entry into the asylum system – which is what happens today.
“And we will stop the most unscrupulous abusing the system by posing as children, by introducing tougher, more accurate age assessments.
“Profiteering from illegal migration to Britain will no longer be worth the risk, with new maximum life sentences for people smugglers.
“I make no apology for these actions being firm, but as they will also save lives and target people smugglers, they are also undeniably fair.”
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Bridget Chapman, head of the Kent Refugee Action Network charity, rubbished the proposal as “deliberately divisive policy”.
She claimed Ms Patel’s change to the UK’s asylum system seeks to “make people think that there are good refugees, who do the right thing and bad refugees, who don’t do the right thing”.
Ms Chapman then added “that’s just not the case”, and told Sky News: “There are people who have been displaced, through no fault of their own, who’ve ended up coming to Europe and they’re still in need of a safe place.
“They are not going to stop coming.
“We have to find a different, more humanitarian way to deal with those who are going to come.”
Around 800 people are estimated to have crossed the English Channel this year already.
Last year, more than 8,500 people arrived in the UK by crossing the Channel in small boats.
The Home Office also told the MailOnline migrants were not routinely tested for coronavirus until February 8 this year.
Prior to the date, tests were only administered if symptoms such as a high temperature, continuous cough or loss of smell and taste were shown by those in custody.