Priti Patel plans weekly returns of migrants from the Channel to Italy, France and Germany

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Priti Patel plans to bring the Channel migrants back to Italy, Germany and France every week, it can be revealed.At least 1,000 people are expected to be deported as part of a crackdown to deter the record number of crossings from France in small boats.

But Home Office officials warn their efforts are hampered by “militant lawyers” and migrants abusing the law.

The weekly targets and the attack on the legal profession have been condemned by activists and lawyers who accuse the interior minister of undermining the rule of law.

In response to an access to information (FOI) request from the Telegraph, officials at the Immigration Enforcement Secretariat called the passage through the Channel “completely unacceptable” and said that the government and Ms. Patel were “equally frustrated by the gravity of the situation”. .

However, they warned that they could not take “simple steps” including intercepting migrants at sea and returning them or changing asylum procedures due to legal constraints.

To stop the crossings, which have seen 6,300 people reach British shores this year alone, officials said they were urging the French government to “take more urgent and productive action to patrol the French coastline.”

British intelligence is being provided on criminal gangs facilitating the crossing and drones and planes are deployed to identify migrants preparing for a passage to alert the French, it has been confirmed.

The government is already funding gendarmes to patrol the beaches and talks are underway to deploy more UK-funded French officers along the coastline.

The response added: “We have offered to strengthen surveillance, law enforcement and patrols in conjunction with French police patrols on their beaches and this is the subject of further discussion with them.

The letter from the officials said.

A flight left the UK on Tuesday, but a second flight to Spain was prevented from taking off on Thursday by a last-minute intervention by lawyers for three of the 18 migrants on board.

1,000 of the migrants who crossed the Channel this year had already applied for asylum in other safe countries and the government is now preparing to return them to those countries under the EU’s Dublin Convention.

The official, who remained anonymous while responding to JTF, told the Telegraph: “I can confirm that the Home Secretary is planning the weekly return of small migrant boats to their first safe countries which have been identified as France, Germany and Italy. ”

If the government is successful in its attempts, then there will be a marked increase in the number of returns. Figures released by the Home Office in a separate FOI show that in 2019 only 21 people were returned to France under the Dublin Convention.

‘Long and arduous’ legal processes will no longer apply at the end of the Brexit transition period and’ new legislation is being drafted that will tackle the endless legal hurdles costing taxpayers millions British on an annual basis, ”the response confirmed.

He continued: “Considerable political work is underway to address the areas in which the UK immigration and asylum system is exploited and abused… In its current form, the system is inflexible and rigid, and is open to abuse by migrants and activist lawyers to thwart the return of those who do not have the right to be here. ”

The response comes just weeks after officials were reprimanded by Home Office Permanent Secretary Matthew Rycroft, who said the use of the term “activist lawyers” in a Twitter post was not ” compatible ”with the language they should use.

Simon Davis, President of the Law Society, said that “it goes beyond the limit when you use inflammatory and deceptive language about the lawyers doing the work. This undermines the rule of law ”.

He added that the letter “directly contradicts what Mr. Rycroft told them to do”.

Bella Sankey, Director of Detention Action, said the use of the term “shows the Home Office has become a thug”

She added that “the whispers of expulsion targets sound like groundhog day.”

Clare Moseley, founder of Care4Calais, said the focus should not be on a goal based on numbers but on “what is appropriate and correct”.

She added that asylum seekers “are literally terrified that the Home Office will kick them out – vulnerable people who cannot eat and cannot sleep because of fear. The UK is becoming another form of hell for them.

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