In an interview with the Sunday Times, Patel revealed that the government would soon be introducing a two-tier system in which migrants are denied entry if they hire criminal gangs to smuggle them to Britain’s shores, or if they are considered ineligible to qualify as an asylum seeker.
Patel described the country’s asylum system as “broken beyond belief” and argued that those who pay traffickers to ferry them to the UK are doing a disservice to genuine refugees. She said that it “isn’t right” that asylum seekers are all treated the same in the UK, regardless of how they enter the country.
The new “fair borders bill,” which is scheduled to be rolled out next year, will create legal routes of entry for those who have real claims to asylum. Anyone caught entering the country illegally will be turned away, although the government will consider the circumstances of each individual case. The UK government also hopes to prevent the process of “endless appeals” if someone’s application for asylum is rejected. New facilities to house and process migrants will also be constructed.
The announcement comes less than a week after Patel found herself in hot water after reportedly considering the “possibility” of constructing an asylum processing center on Ascension Island as part of a tougher approach to illegal immigration. The remote South Atlantic island is located 6,400km (3,976 miles) from the UK. While speaking with the Sunday Times, she refused to deny that her ministry has mulled the idea of housing asylum seekers overseas.
In recent months the UK has seen an influx of small vessels illegally crossing the English Channel.
Patel said in August that the number of boats transporting illegal migrants to the country had become “appalling” and vowed to make Channel crossings “unviable.”
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