Home Office climbdown on deportation policy raises questions about Patel’s integrity

Outgoing Home Secretary’s Albanian deportation policy facing questions

A new admission by the British Home Office on September 26 has cast doubt over claims made by Priti Patel during her tenure as home secretary. Patel claimed to have made a deal with Albanian authorities to immediately deport Albanian asylum seekers who had made ‘spurious’ asylum claims.

Lawyers from NGO Care4Calais asked the Home Office to review the policy and received a concession in response, that it does not have the power to fast-track deportations of Albanian refugees. The Home Office also confirmed that immigrants arriving by boat cannot be classified as ‘illegal immigrants’.

Figures showed that 53% of asylum claims made by Albanians in the UK were accepted, revealing that the Home Office does consider Albania unsafe for many applicants. The policy u-turn means that the UK does accept asylum applications from Albanian refugees.

As Home Secretary, Patel advocated for increasingly draconian policies to combat immigration to the UK, including wave machines to push back migrant boats, offshore processing and detention facilities. The proposals culminated with a scheme to deport refugees to Rwanda, criticised by human rights organisations.

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