I WILL leave politics to the politicians, but from a legal perspective, if there are any words to describe outgoing Home Secretary Priti Patel as far as immigration is concerned, those must be, “paradoxical disaster”.

Rather than simply accept the fact that the UK has very few asylum seekers compared to most other countries, she instead made the system much worse than before, and this is backed up by facts. Let’s consider those facts.

If we look at the Asylum Dataset, last updated on the Home Office website last month – the next update is due in November – the numbers are frightening, and do not make her look good in the slightest.

Since June 2019, just before she took over, we now have more than 70,000 human beings who have been waiting more than six months for a decision. Some of my own clients have been waiting way in excess of a year for even an interview, and other solicitors have reported similar timescales.

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Patel, pictured, tried to pull the wool over people’s eyes when she said she was introducing the first points-based system. The problem with that is we already had such an apparatus. Moreover, other countries had one years before us.

She seems to continually champion the removal of migrants. It is quite confusing as to why she has been telling us she has met with other countries – a recent example is Pakistan – with a view to removing people. The above data actually show that under Patel, the number of migrants removed has gone from thousands prior to her taking office, down to a few hundred since she became Home Secretary. So, her assertion that she is committed to removing migrants, is simply untrue.

I AM sure we all remember a media frenzy over her “we will stop migrants crossing over the channel on boats” assertion. I would encourage people to read the Home Office “Irregular Migration to the UK, year ending June 2022”.

It is far from light bedtime reading, but the figures are a revelation: “There were 12,747 people detected arriving by small boats in January to June 2022. This was more than double the number in the same six months in 2021 (5,917), with notably higher numbers of arrivals seen in the months of January, March and April 2022 compared to the previous year.

“There were 28,526 people detected arriving on small boats in 2021, compared with 8,466 in 2020, 1,843 in 2019 and 299 in 2018.”

To put it simply, there were 299 people found to have been arriving through boats before her tenure began, and 28,526 in 2021. Need we say more?

It is important to remember that people fleeing their home country because of war or persecution, can only come to the UK clandestinely. There is no legal visa route for those trying to escape persecution. There is the resettlement programme but the numbers there are even more embarrassing.

A LOT more can be said of her self-appraised achievements, such as the tens of thousands of Afghans sitting in hotels, or when Poland was taking in a million Ukrainians, the UK was sitting at thousands, all of which could have been avoided by a much simpler visa process.

However, in comes Suella Braverman, who during her leadership campaign said she wanted to leave the European Convention on Human Rights, the legal framework that protects everyone’s rights, not just asylum seekers.

It is interesting to note that in 2015, Braverman said her father came to the UK to escape the Kenyan Asian crisis in 1968, and that her own mother then worked hard in the UK. What she could do instantly is to let those fleeing brutal persecution (like her father) start working and contributing to the UK.

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They will integrate faster, learn the language faster and help the economy faster. Keeping them for months in disgusting hotels and creating a backlog that keeps getting bigger is not the way forward. What makes her think that asylum seekers are unskilled, or cannot add value to the community?

Interestingly, in the last 24 hours, sources are now saying Braverman’s plan to leave the ECHR has been shelved.

Neither was it an indication of her judicial prowess that I had to correct her on a Twitter post recently because she was using the incorrect legal terminology in respect of Rwanda.

In all, not a great start by a former Attorney General.

Immigration specialist Usman Aslam is a Senior Associate with Mukhtar and Co Solicitors, in Glasgow