A leading Conservative backbencher has challenged fellow Tory and Home Secretary Priti Patel to adopt an Australian-style solution to Britain’s ongoing illegal immigration crisis.
“Our present asylum is a complete joke,” said Sir Edward Leigh in the House of Commons.
The veteran parliamentarian and Christian blogger noted that any would-be illegal boat migrant “knows that if he manage[s] to reach our shores the chances for him being deported are virtually zero” and appeared unimpressed by the immigration measures the Boris Johnson administration is currently pushing — “there is no point introducing more and more penalties, more and more laws, unless we are prepared to deport people,” Sir Edward insisted.
“Is the Home Secretary prepared to do what Prime Minister [Tony] Abbott of Australia did?” said Sir Edward, in reference to Operation Sovereign Borders, which put a decisive end to the Commonwealth country’s own boat migrants crisis.
“He ensured that because all arrivals were put in a secure location and left there until their claim was processed and they were deported or allowed to stay, there are now no unsafe arrivals in Australia; there are no deaths [at sea]; there are no criminal gangs — the policy works,” he said, referring to the way Australia houses would-be migrants in third countries and pays for those found to be legitimate refugees to be hosted elsewhere.
“Is the Home Secretary prepared to be really tough in order to be kind?” he asked.
UK Deportations of Foreign Criminals Fell 79 per cent Last Year, Despite Patel’s Promises to ‘Get Tough’ https://t.co/5PazItcV8R
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 19, 2021
Home Secretary Patel’s reply was not promising for migration hawks, with her noting from the outset that “as I’ve outlined already for the Right Honourable Gentleman, this proposal, it is a long-term plan” — in other words, it should not be expected to bring an end to the ongoing boat migrants crisis any time soon.
Patel added that “the legal system… which frustrates deportations, removal” in Britain is a “very different system… to Australia” — although there is no particular reason why Britain’s legal system could not be reordered along Australian lines if Boris Johnson’s administration really wanted, given it has a very substantial parliamentary majority.
“[T]his is a fair but firm system, because we have to be firm in terms of removing those that have exhausted all their rights and should not be here; that equally applies to foreign national offenders, which is part of the reason that I’ve outlined already in the new immigration plan [sic],” she concluded, rather uninformatively.
The reference to foreign national offenders — i.e. foreign criminals — may have been unwise, as this is another area of major failure for the Home Office, with deportations of such individuals having collapsed by 79 per cent in 2020.
2021 does not appear to be going any better for Patel’s department, with judges having already inflicted several high profile defeats on it, for example by blocking the deportation of a double rapist from Somalia and ordering the restoration of British citizenship to three Islamic State defectors, one of whom was not even born in Britain.