Deportation of 28 Illegal Migrants Blocked by Human Rights Lawyers
British Home Secretary Priti Patel slams 'leftie lawyers' over move
The deportation of 28 illegal migrants was blocked after human rights lawyers lodged 11th-hour claims, according to reports.
The migrants were meant to leave the UK on a chartered flight on Tuesday morning.
Of the 36 illegal immigrants on the plane, only eight remained on board when it departed.
18 of the 28 had lodged first-time human rights claims while seven others said they were victims of modern slavery.
Lawyers for the remaining three launched judicial reviews of their deportations.
It comes after lawyers successfully blocked the deportation of 37 other migrants just last week.
The number of refugees and migrants arriving on boats across the English Channel this year has surged past 8,000 after more than 550 arrived since last Thursday, according to The Daily Mail.
Tory MP Tim Loughton, who sits on the Commons home affairs committee, said: "I don't know whose interests these lawyers think they are acting in, but it is certainly not the law-abiding British taxpayer.
"It is incomprehensible that we are paying for people to be in the country when they have no case to be here and our hospitality is being abused even further by lawyers using questionable last minute tactics to take people off planes, adding even more expense with unused flights and further legal wrangles.
"We do the right thing and support genuine asylum seekers with grounds to stay in the UK, but the system is far too open to abuse."
British Home Secretary Priti Patel has accused "leftie lawyers" of repeatedly frustrating attempts to deport migrants who have often traveled through one or more safe European countries before reaching Britain illegally.
They typically launch human rights bids within five days of scheduled deportations, but some claims have been known to be lodged as late as 2 am on the day of departure.
A Home Office spokesman said: "Yesterday we removed migrants who arrived in small boats and had no right to remain in the UK, to safe EU countries.
"However, once again we experienced a high number of late legal claims - these types of claims are often unfounded, or without merit, but are given full legal consideration.
"We are determined to fix the broken asylum system to make it firm and fair and stop those who come to the UK through illegally-facilitated routes from safe countries."
Tuesday's tally of 159 boat arrivals brought the total for 2020 to around 8,067 - more than four times the 1,850 who arrived for the whole of 2019.
It means around 487 have arrived so far in November, already more than the 463 who successfully made it across for the whole of last month.
More boats were said to have arrived on Wednesday but it was unclear last night how many people were in them.
The tally comes despite worsening weather conditions and it being just two weeks since a Kurdish-Iranian family drowned after their overcrowded boat sank off the coast of France.
Rasoul Iran-Nejad and his wife Shiva Mohammad Panahi, both 35, died along with their children Anita, nine, and Armin, six, on October 27. Their 15-month-old son, Artin, remains missing and is presumed dead.
MPs last night said it was only a matter of time before more tragedies occur unless French border authorities step up patrols and stop more crossings.
Mr. Loughton added: "The French really have got to get their act together."
MP for Dover, Natalie Elphicke, said: "Recent deaths haven't deterred either migrants or traffickers.
"The French must do more to stop the boats leaving in the first place and tackle the ruthless smuggling gangs at source."
Home Office officials have been wargaming a range of options for reducing pull factors and crossings in recent months.
On Tuesday, MPs on the Home Affairs select committee heard how Australia's Operation Sovereign Borders, where its patrol forces turned back boat migrants to their ports of origin, had helped drive down arrivals significantly.
The country launched the system in 2012 after experiencing its own influx.
Some in Britain have been calling for a similar system in the Channel, but it is a legal grey area given the UK is subject to a greater panoply of asylum laws.
Dr. Natalie Klein, professor of law at the University of New South Wales, said: "The fact that people knew they would be turned back, that they couldn't stay, did have some deterrent effect."
Her colleague, Madeleine Gleeson, told MPs arrivals reduced from around 25,000 to near zero after the system was initially introduced.
However, they also warned of the risks of processing asylum claims offshore, saying it had led to an increase in alleged human rights abuses in third countries and had proven to be a costly policy.