Priti Patel admits there are no safe and legal routes for asylum ...
Independent

Home secretary Priti Patel is facing a backlash for claiming migrants who come to the UK are "asylum shopping".

Speaking during a Home Affairs Committee yesterday, Patel said that people coming to the country in small boats were "economic migrants" and said that they should resettle in other countries, despite other organisations saying otherwise.

She said: "The problem that we have with illegal migration .and we should be very clear about this, is that the majority of people are not fleeing persecution, they are asylum shopping and that is why they should be claiming asylum in other countries."

"They're making very long journeys through other countries where they could claim asylum," she added.

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Despite her comments, the Independent reports that the Home Office’s most recent asylum statistics, released in November, said “almost all” people who arrive on small boats claim asylum.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has also said it is not a requirement under the Refugee Convention or any other international law to seek protection in the first safe country.

Speaking toThe Independent, Bella Sankey, the director of Detention Action, said: “The home secretary and attorney-general demean their office, and mislead parliament and the public, by falsely claiming those crossing the channel have broken the criminal law.

“That they continue to do so, in defiance of a Court of Appeal judgement, shows once again the disrespect this government has both for the law and for the truth.”

As you can imagine people reacted angrily to her comments:


Elsewhere at the meeting, Patel also claimed Emmanuel Macron is wrong to say the UK’s immigration policy is encouraging people to risk their lives crossing the Channel from France after he urged Boris Johnson to set up a safe route for migrants.

She said: "The entire French government – both the interior minister and president Macron – are fully aware through the very good work, actually, that our ambassador in Paris and her team does, in terms of number one: the cooperation that we have to have with France to combat the dangerous and unnecessary crossings, dealing with illegal migration, but also working with like-minded partners across Europe. So those comments are just wrong.”

She also admitted the government was “absolutely struggling” to find accommodation for 12,000 people from Afghanistan who remained in hotels after being evacuated last year and spoke about making drug-spiking a crime.

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