Send home illegal migrants who claim to be slavery victims, MPs tell Rishi Sunak

Migrants - Steve Finn
Migrants - Steve Finn

Illegal immigrants who claim to be victims of modern slavery should be sent back to their home country, Rishi Sunak has been told.

A letter from over 50 Tory MPs, led by former cabinet minister David Davis, urges the Prime Minister to pass emergency laws to crack down on “bogus” asylum seekers.

It comes amid rising pressure on the Government to find ways to prevent the rising number of small-boat crossings, with Home Secretary Suella Braverman last week admitting that Britain has failed to control its borders.

The letter, whose signatories include former cabinet ministers Esther McVey and Liam Fox, as well as chair of the 1922 committee Graham Brady, argues that ministers could rapidly implement a change in the law to help tackle the issue.

‘Returned to the villages’

They argue that “people claiming they have been unwilling victims of human trafficking or modern slavery” should be returned to “the villages from which they came”.

“If they have really been taken against their will, then they could not reasonably object to being returned to their own homes,” the letter explained.

“The quirks in our modern slavery laws that prevent this are clearly in defiance of the aims of that law and should be removed.”

They argue that in the specific case of Albanian migrants, this would provide a “very strong deterrent” for anyone considering making the crossing across the Channel.

Earlier this month, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said that Albanian Channel migrants are being coached to exploit modern slavery laws to avoid deportation in a “blatant manipulation” of the system.

NCA chiefs said a “significant number” of the Albanians in the UK had entered illegally to work in the “grey” market or for organised criminal drug gangs and were sending back “hundreds of millions of pounds” a year to Albania.

They said there was evidence from Albania that migrants were told before they left for the UK that if they chose to join crime gangs and were caught, they should claim to be victims of modern slavery in order to avoid deportation and remain in the UK.

The example of Sweden

The MPs also demand that “economic migrants” travelling from “safe countries” such as Albania are returned far more rapidly.

They cite the example of Sweden, which rejects 100 per cent of Albanian “asylum seekers” on this “summary basis”.

The letter, whose signatories also include Sir John Hayes, chair of the Common Sense Group and David Jones, deputy chair of the European Research Group, argue that emergency legislation should be used to push the changes through.

The Home Secretary has said she was determined to “fix” the “crisis” over illegal migration as she signalled that a new “legal framework” will be unveiled after Christmas aimed at curbing the record 42,000 migrants who have illegally crossed the Channel so far this year.

She has previously admitted the Channel crisis is “out of control,” but went further last week, telling MPs: “We have failed to control our borders. That’s why I and the Prime Minister are absolutely determined to fix this problem.”

Ms Braverman has also come under fire over conditions for migrants in the Manston processing centre, with the Home Office admitting that a man’s death at centre may have been caused by a diphtheria infection.

On Sunday it emerged that migrants with suspected infections of highly contagious diseases will be ordered to isolate themselves in their rooms to prevent spreading to the general population.

Outbreaks of skin infections

Emergency public health guidance has been issued to hotels following growing outbreaks of skin infections such as diphtheria, scabies, group A Strep and MRSA, respiratory infections such as flu and Covid-19, and gastrointestinal infections such as norovirus.

A Home Office source said Ms Braverman is “working flat out alongside the Prime Minister to bring in reforms to help stem the flow of migrants across the Channel”.

The Sunday Times reported that Mr Sunak is using a three-pronged approach to tackle illegal migration, ordering the Home Office to hire 250 more staff to deal with Albanian arrivals and increase ministerial oversight, as well as instructing Foreign Secretary James Cleverly to pressure other countries into honouring deals to accept migrants back.