EMBATTLED Priti Patel is facing a backlash after it emerged asylum claims have hit an 18-year high.
The Home Office revealed nearly 50,000 asylum papers were processed last year — as the Home Secretary failed to stem the flow of small boats crossing the Channel.
Overall, there were 48,540 UK asylum applications in 2021 — a rise of 63 per cent on the previous year and the highest for a calendar year since 2003.
The figure does not include the 15,000 Afghans evacuated from Taliban rule in Kabul.
It was boosted by the huge numbers of people making the crossing from France, with 28,526 arriving in 1,034 small boats, numbers published yesterday confirmed.
Nine in ten of those arrivals were male, with 75 per cent aged 18 to 39.
Officials are also facing a backlog of 81,978 cases awaiting an initial decision — 60 per cent more than in 2020.
Immigration minister Kevin Foster said: “The asylum system is broken. But our New Plan for Immigration will deliver the fair but firm system people have repeatedly voted for.”