MIGRANTS could be refused asylum in the UK before they’ve even attempted to make the perilous Channel crossing, the Home Secretary suggested today.
Under plans being looked at by ministers, border posts could be set up outside the UK for people to apply, to try and deter people from trying to come over in dinghies.
Home Sec Priti Patel confirmed the news today.
Ms Patel was asked if she would consider centres in Calais or in Belgium and other places refugees come through where they could have their asylum claims processed before risking their lives on the journey.
She told LBC: “Yes we are. We are looking at all options and these are issues that we are discussing with my counterpart in France.”
It came as it was revealed that migrants who make it across the Channel in small boats will be housed in military barracks while their claims are processed.
Around 400 people including families are to be housed in temporary accommodation at Napier Barracks in Folkestone, Kent, from next week.
A barracks in Pembrokeshire, Wales, is also being considered for use by the Home Office.
But local MP Damian Collins has lashed out at the plans, saying the Home Office must find more “suitable” accomodation.
168 people crossed to the UK in small boats on Monday alone.
More than 6,000 migrants have made the desperate journey across the Channel this year.
In a statement, Folkestone and Hythe District Council blasted the plans and said they’d not been spoken to about them.
They cited a “lack of consultation on this matter and the exceptionally poor communication with us” and said they were seeking clarification “as a matter of urgency”.
Ms Patel also said the UK was already returning people “on a weekly basis” who came to the UK through EU countries where they could have claimed asylum as part of plans to make the Channel route “unviable”.
Some had even already started asylum claims in other European countries before trying to get to the UK.
She said: “(We will stop refugees) coming to the UK, when they could have claimed asylum in France, in Germany, in Spain or Italy.
“As a result I am sending people, I’m returning people back on weekly basis now, rightly so, people that have come to our country illegally through small boats and we will continue to do that.”
The Home Secretary said despite the more hardline approach of sending people back, migrants were still trying to get to the UK and they were looking at even tougher rules to stop them.
She said: “This is not good enough and I’ve also said this as well, we are looking at fundamental changes that we may need to bring forward legislation to change some of the pull factors that we have here in the United Kingdom.”
A UK Government spokesperson said: “A UK Government spokesperson said: “During these unprecedented times, the Government is working with a range of partners and across departments to secure further accommodation and the MoD has offered use of some of its sites.
“When using contingency accommodation we work closely with organisations, including local authorities and law enforcement, throughout the process to ensure value for money and that vulnerable asylum seekers, who would otherwise be destitute, have suitable accommodation while their claims are processed.”