The warning has come ahead of the Nationalities and Borders Bill returning to the Commons tomorrow which aims to fix what Home Secretary Priti Patel has called the UK’s “broken asylum system”. The Bill was defeated by unelected peers in the Lords.
And up to 27 Conservative MPs are expected to rebel, potentially including former ministers Steve Baker, Robert Buckland and Andrew Mitchell are expected to rebel against the Bill.
Rebels are using the Ukraine crisis as a reason to ease controls on asylum despite Ms Patel warning over the weekend that intelligence chiefs have said Vladimir Putin is using the refugee crisis he has created to smuggle spies and assassins into western countries.
The Home Secretary is expected, on Tuesday, to outline to the House the “urgent need” for the bill, making the case for, ‘protecting the most vulnerable, by offering safe passages of asylum.’
She has made clear to supporters that the bill provides the UK with the ability to combat traffickers and organised crime.
A source close to Ms Patel involved in the passage of the bill said: “The system is collapsing under the pressures of what are in effect parallel illegal routes to asylum, facilitated by criminals smuggling people into the UK.
“The existence of these parallel routes is deeply unfair as it advantages those with the means to pay traffickers over vulnerable people who cannot. And because the capacity of our asylum system is not unlimited, the presence of economic migrants – which these illegal routes introduce into the asylum system – inhibits our ability to properly support others in genuine need of protection.
“This is particularly true in our court system where we are seeing repeated unmeritorious appeals and claims, often made at the very last minute, which can delay the removal of those – including Foreign National Offenders – with no right to reside in the UK. This can waste significant judicial resources, resulting in delays to the assessment of genuine claims which is to the detriment of vulnerable people.
“The British people are fair and generous when it comes to helping those in need. But persistent failure to properly enforce our laws and immigration rules, and the reality of a system that is open to gaming and criminal exploitation, risks eroding public support for the asylum system and those that genuinely need access to it.”
The Home Secretary will explain that the bill aims to ensure those who arrive in the UK, having passed through safe countries, or who have a connection to a safe country where they could have claimed asylum, will be considered inadmissible to the UK’s asylum system.
It will seek rapid removal of inadmissible cases to the safe country from which they embarked or to another safe third country and reduce opportunities for leftwing activist lawyers to keep illegal immigrants in the UK.
The Bill will introduce a new temporary protection status with less generous entitlements and limited family reunion rights for people who are inadmissible but cannot be returned to their country of origin (as it would breach international obligations) or to another safe country.
It will also bring forward plans to expand the Government’s asylum estate. These plans will include proposals for reception centres to provide basic accommodation while processing the claims of asylum seekers.
Crucially, the new law will also make it possible for asylum claims to be processed outside the UK and in another country by amending sections 77 and 78 of the Nationality Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.
It will also reduce the criminality threshold so that those who have been convicted and sentenced to at least 12 months’ imprisonment and constitute a danger to the community in the UK, can have their refugee status revoked and be considered for removal from the UK (in line with UK Borders Act 2007 provisions).
The new law would support improved decision-making by setting a clearer and higher standard for testing whether an individual has a well-founded fear of persecution, consistent with the Refugee Convention.
Finally, it will create a robust approach to age assessment to ensure we act as swiftly as possible to safeguard against adults claiming to be children and can use new scientific methods to improve abilities to accurately assess age.
Allies of the Home Secretary fear that certain Tories will side with Labour, derailing the opportunity to “defend our national interest.”
They have been urging colleagues to ensure that “the biggest reforms to the asylum system in 20 years, are voted through, for the national interest.”
One long term advisor said: “Illegal immigration which is facilitated by serious organised criminals exploiting people and profiting from human misery.
“It is counter to our national interest because the same criminal gangs and networks are also responsible for other illicit activity ranging from drug and firearms trafficking to serious violent crimes. And, if left unchecked, illegal immigration puts unsustainable pressures on public services.
“It is also counter to our moral interest, as it means people are put in the hands of ruthless criminals who endanger life by facilitating illegal entry via unsafe means like small boats, refrigerated lorries or sealed shipping containers.”
Another key supporter of the Home Secretary said: “Families and young children have lost their lives at sea, in lorries and in shipping containers, having put their trust in the hands of criminals. The way to stop these deaths is to stop the trade in people that causes them.”