'Priti Patel's immigration plan won't stop people coming'

24 March 2021, 18:48

By Sam Sholli

Priti Patel's proposed changes to rules for asylum seekers "won't stop people coming" to the UK - it will just lead to "cruelty", said Professor Anna Rowlands.

Professor Anna Rowlands, who works with refugees, made the remark after the Home Secretary told LBC earlier that her planned shake-up of the asylum system will make deportations as "swift and efficient" as possible.

Professor Anna said, "The end effect will be cruelty.

"I suspect that whatever the intentions behind this three point plan that's just been announced...it will have the reverse effect of what she intends."

She continued, "This will not lead to a reduced number of people coming, it will lead to people who quickly find that they will feel they need to go underground and not be on the radar; they'll feel they're not safe in the context so will end up with more risk, more limbo and less safety.

"I think that's not in the interests of us as a nation and it certainly isn't in the interests of those people who desperately need sanctuary."

Professor Anna Rowlands also told LBC that the Home Secretary is "refusing to understand" the intention of asylum seekers, most of whom do not come to the UK for welfare.

"Most do not want to come to the UK, most of them want to stay within the context of their communities," she said, "what they're looking for is basic political protection and an opportunity to work and be self-supporting.

"One of the things get very wrong is a sense that refugees are interested in a dependency culture."

Separately, immigration lawyer Colin Yeo had similar pessimistic words for the Home Secretary's new scheme, questioning its practicalities.

Mr Yeo told LBC's Shelagh Fogarty: "What Priti Patel is proposing is for people, after they actually reach our shores [and] after we are obliged by the refugee convention to process their cases and give them rights, that we just remove them anyway to some other country.

"If you start to think about the practicalities of that...What country is going to take them?

"It's not going to be an EU country because we've just left the EU. We left the returns arrangement that we had with them as a member of the EU.

"And anyway they take a lot more refugees than we do already. So why would they take more from us?"

"It would have to be a country outside the EU...But if it's a very poor country that we persuade by giving them lots of money or something, [then] there's a danger of human rights abuses.

"The refugees would have to be detained there because if you don't detain them there [then] they'll just start making their way back here.

"And you could start to see that could go quite badly wrong quite quickly..."

The Home Office has said: "For the first time, whether people enter the UK legally or illegally will have an impact on how their asylum claim progresses, and on their status in the UK if that claim is successful.

"We will make every effort to remove those who enter the UK illegally having travelled through a safe country in which they could and should have claimed asylum."

READ MORE: Priti Patel: Half of disputed cases over migrants' ages were 'adults presenting as children'