Ban illegal migrants from claiming asylum, say majority in new poll

Illegal migrants should be banned from claiming asylum, according to 60 per cent of the public in a new poll.

By a majority of three to one, Britons want a change in the law that would mean any migrant who came to the UK illegally through a "safe" country should be barred from claiming asylum. Sixty-one per cent were in favour, to 21 per cent against, according to the YouGov poll.

Exactly half backed the principle that the Government should take account of how a migrant arrives in the UK and penalise them if they entered by an illegal route. That compared with 37 per cent who believed any asylum application should be based solely on need.

The YouGov poll of 1,700 adults comes amid growing public concern over the surge in migrants crossing the Channel, with a record 4,400 reaching the UK so far this year, two and a half times the rate at the same point in 2020.

It follows Home Secretary Priti Patel’s claim on Monday that the British public are "absolutely fed up" and "demoralised" by the growing number of migrants crossing the Channel on small boats.

The findings reveal overwhelming public support for controversial proposals by Ms Patel to reform what she has described as Britain’s “broken” asylum system by no longer basing it purely on need and instead linking claims to the method of entry.

More than half of those surveyed, 56 per cent, said that those whose claim for asylum was deemed "inadmissible" but could not be removed from the UK should be barred from being allowed to settle in the UK. Only 20 per cent said they should not be.

They would have limited family reunion rights and no recourse to public funds unless they became destitute. They would also be reassessed every 30 months for removal to their country of origin or a "safe" country.

By an even bigger four-to-one majority – 64 per cent to 15 per cent – the British public said that anyone whose asylum claim was deemed "inadmissible" should be deported to another safe country.

They also want the UK to follow the Australian model by housing all illegal migrants in purpose-built reception centres rather than hotels. This was backed by 60 per cent against 21 per who were opposed.

The proposed reforms by Ms Patel garnered significantly more support among Tory voters, with more than 80 per cent backing most of the plans.

Even among avowed Labour voters, there was double the national rate of support with 47 per cent backing removal of "inadmissible" asylum claimants and 41 per cent endorsing a ban on asylum for those who came to the UK illegally.

Border Force officers detained 93 Channel migrants – including a number of small children – on Monday, taking the total this year to 4,614. Three men were arrested in the UK on Tuesday over the smuggling of 69 Albanians into the UK on a fishing boat last November.

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