Priti Patel says borders bill will end appalling abuse of immigration

WION Web Team
London, United Kingdom Published: Jan 05, 2022, 10:10 PM(IST)

A handout photograph released by the UK Parliament shows Britain's Home Secretary Priti Patel making a Statement on the 'Small boats incident in the Channel', in the House of Commons in London Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

In the latest crackdown against migrants, adults who pose as child asylum seekers could face X-ray age checks on borders

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has said that the borders bill will end appalling, blatant abuse of the immigration and the asylum system.

She took to microblogging platform Twitter and said, ''We're changing UK laws to introduce new scientific methods for assessing the age of asylum seekers to stop these appalling abuses.''

In the latest crackdown against migrants, adults who pose as child asylum seekers could face X-ray age checks on borders.

Also read | UK announces harsher sentences for Channel migrants

"The practice of single grown adult men, masquerading as children claiming asylum is an appalling abuse of our system which we will end," Patel said in a statement.

A new committee will look at a range of scientific methods for determining age and assess their accuracy and reliability as well as considering medical and ethical issues.

The UK government's Nationality and Borders Bill is currently before parliament, promising tougher action against people smugglers and, controversially, migrants themselves.

If passed, the bill, opposed by rights groups, will allow the return of asylum seekers who have passed through so-called "safe third countries".

Also read | Macron tells UK to 'get serious' over English Channel migrant issue

According to analysis of Home Office data, last year, record numbers of more than 28,000 migrants who paid thousands of pounds to people traffickers arrived in the UK in often flimsy boats.

This was more than triple the numbers seen in 2020, with the higher numbers attributed to the smugglers' use of bigger boats to navigate one of the world's busiest shipping lanes. 

Tragically, 27 migrants drowned off France on November 24 after they attempted to cross in a boat likened by French officials to a children's inflatable pool.

The high number of migrants crossing to Britain from mainland Europe has become a political headache for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The flow of migrants has also soured Britain's relations with France, prompting an unseemly blame game even as both sides try to disrupt the people trafficking networks. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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