According to Suella Braverman, those who file fictitious claims for illegal immigrants’ human rights and asylum should go to jail.
The Home Secretary argues that there must be a “hostile environment” for “criminals and conmen” who attempt to game the system in an interview with The Mail on Sunday. She also mentions existing rules that call for life in prison for anyone who aid in illegal immigration.
Her comments follow a significant undercover investigation by our sister publication, the Daily Mail, which exposed solicitors who demanded hundreds of pounds to file bogus asylum claims.
Announcing a crackdown on the practice ahead of a series of Government initiatives dubbed ‘Stop the Boats’ week, Mrs Braverman said: ‘It’s very simple. They really need to be jailed.
‘We have the laws in place already which can be used whereby if you are facilitating a migrant illegally, you can be potentially jailed for life.
‘And if the offence is warranted, then these people must be jailed for as long as possible. They need to know that they can’t get away with it. They need to know that this is totally unacceptable. ‘And we need to ensure that a blind eye isn’t turned to this kind of behaviour but, actually, that we have a hostile environment for those who seek to undermine and break our rules.’
The Immigration Act 1971 makes it an offence to intentionally facilitate a breach of immigration law.
Home Office and Ministry of Justice lawyers have advised that the Act can be used against lawyers charging thousands of pounds to fake asylum claims.
The maximum sentence under Crown Prosecution Service guidelines is life. Decisions would be a matter for the service on a case-by-case basis.
Mrs Braverman said lawyers who tried to cheat the system deserved to feel the full force of the law.
‘These so-called immigration lawyers, who have been very powerfully exposed as being criminals and conmen, coaching migrants on how to lie to get through our system, how to game our system, how to play our rules, they are cheating the British people,’ she added.
‘I worked as a barrister myself before I was an MP, defending the Home Office in immigration cases, and I know what we’re dealing with here in terms of the problem.
‘We’ve got a racket, we’ve got an industry of people who are purporting to be professional, purporting to be legitimate, but actually under the surface are lying or cheating and breaking the law, and we need to crack down on them.’
Mrs Braverman’s interview comes ahead of ‘Stop the Boats’ week, during which she will set out her plans to tackle illegal migration after nearly a year in the job. It follows a spell of bad weather that is likely to improve imminently, suggesting that there may be a big surge in arrivals as soon as the coming week.
Of course, many will be cynical about another trumpeted policy launch after six successive Tory home secretaries have blustered and failed. But Rishi Sunak has pledged to put a stop to the crisis before the next election, after record numbers of migrants crossed the Channel in dinghies last year.
Mrs Braverman pointed to the work she has already done to reduce the numbers, which are at present slightly down on the figures from 2022.
Last year, 45,755 migrants crossed the Channel, the highest number since figures were first collected in 2018. And June this year saw the highest number of arrivals on record, with more than 2,000 migrants crossing the Channel.