Article by Sam Williams for the Kentish Express, published 1 April 2021
District MP Damian Collins has backed Priti Patel's overhaul of the UK's approach to asylum, which aims to deter illegal entry and break the business model of people smugglers.
For the first time, how people enter the UK will directly impact the status of their asylum claim and right to stay. The plans also aim to strengthen safe and legal routes, while toughening border protection.
Mr Collins said: "I strongly back the Home Secretary's overhaul of the UK's asylum system.
"I know how frustrated my constituents have been about small boats coming to the UK.
"The New Plan for Immigration will ensure that these perilous and illegal journeys to the UK via safe countries in which people should and could have claimed asylum are no longer worth the risk, whilst ensuring the world's most vulnerable can still seek refuge
"I would urge all of my constituents to respond to the Home Office's consultation and give their views on the need to make the asylum fair but firm."
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "Under our New Plan for Immigration, if people arrive illegally, they will no longer have the same entitlements as those who arrive legally, and it will be harder for them to stay.
"If, like over 60% of illegal arrivals, they have travelled through a safe country like France to get here, they will not have immediate entry into the asylum system - which is what happens today. I make no apology for these actions being firm, but as they will also save lives and target people smugglers, they are also undeniably fair."