Priti Patel has said the suspected Liverpool terrorist attacker was able to exploit Britain’s “dysfunctional” asylum system to stay in the country.
On a three-day visit to Washington, UK Minister of the Interior said the system was a “complete carousel” with an “entire industry” dedicated to defending the rights of individuals who intend to cause harm.
This comes as new analysis shows that most migrants crossing the English Channel to the UK are refugees fleeing persecution.
Terrorist suspect Emad Al Swealmeen is understood has arrived in the UK from the Middle East in 2014 and was denied an application for asylum the following year but was still in the country. He reportedly had some mental issues.
The 32-year-old died in one explosion outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital in a taxi shortly before 11 a.m. on Memorial Sunday.
That The level of British terrorist threats has since been raised from significant to serious since the incident – indicating that an attack is “very likely” rather than “likely”.
Ms. Patel told reporters on her escape to the U.S. capital that the case proved the government is right in reforming the asylum system.
She was quoted as saying: “The case in Liverpool was a complete reflection of how dysfunctional, how damaged the system has been in the past and why I want to bring about change.
“It’s a complete carousel, and it’s been exploited. A whole kind of professional legal services industry has relied on redress and going to court day in and day out at the expense of taxpayers through legal aid. That’s actually what we need to change.”
She added: “These people have come to our country and have abused British values, abused the values of the structure of our country and our society.
“And as a result, there’s an entire industry that believes it’s right to defend these individuals who are causing the most heinous crimes against British citizens, ruining their lives, destroying communities – and that’s completely wrong.”
However, new research from the Refugee Council shows that only a third of migrants crossing the English Channel will not be allowed to stay in the UK and that “the majority of people crossing the Channel are likely to be recognized as in need of protection “in the initial decision-making phase.
The charity, using statistics from the Interior Ministry and data obtained through freedom of information laws, found that between January 2020 and June this year, 91% of migrants came from 10 countries where human rights violations and persecution are common – including Afghanistan, Iran , Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Eritrea and Yemen.
For the top 10 countries of origin arriving by small boat, 61% of the first decisions made in the 18 months to June 2021 would have resulted in refugee protection being granted, the research also suggested.
But last month, Mrs Patel claimed that seven out of ten of those traveling to the UK across the Channel “were not genuine asylum seekers” and that the government was “concentrating” its efforts on “creating safe passage for genuine refugees”.
“In the last 12 months alone, 70% of the people who have come to our country illegally via small boats are single men who are actually economic migrants. They are not real asylum seekers,” she told Lords Justice and Home Affairs. .
“They are able to pay the smugglers … They are the ones who elbow women and children who are in danger and fleeing persecution.”
Al Swealmeen converted from Islam to Christianity and was not thought to have been known by MI5 – and there have been reports of growing concern within the Home Office over the role the Church of England is playing in converting asylum seekers.
An unnamed source, quoted in The Sun, said a question being considered is whether he was motivated by an “unresolved complaint” with the Home Office over an attempt to become a British resident in 2014.
Malcolm Hitchcott, who along with his wife Elizabeth had taken all the Swealmeen into their home to live with them, said the suspect came to Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral in 2015 and wanted to convert to Christianity.
He said the suspected terrorist had contacted them in 2017 when he was “desperate” for a place to live.
“He arrived here on April 1, 2017. He was with us then for eight months, and during that time we saw him really flourish in relation to his Christian faith,” Mr Hitchcott told BBC Radio Merseyside.
“He really had a passion for Jesus that I wish many Christians had and he was ready to learn.
“He was keen to read his Bible, and every night we prayed – my wife and him, and if there were others in the house – we prayed for half an hour or so and studied the scriptures.
“He was absolutely genuine as far as I could see. I had no doubt when he left us after the eight months that he was a Christian.”
An Islamist plot is understood as a line of inquiry being considered by the police, although investigators keep an open mind and the motivation has not yet been determined.
It is still believed that the hospital was the intended target of the attack.
Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson, of the Counter-Terrorism Police North West, told former reporters that police believed all of Swealmeen himself had “manufactured” the explosive.
The study also looks at other possibilities, including whether the main charge on the device did not explode and whether the homemade explosive TATP was used.
Police have searched properties on Rutland Avenue, where all of Swealmeen was picked up in the taxi, as well as another address in Sutcliffe Street, where officers believe he previously lived.
Four men arrested in connection with the explosion have now been released from custody after interview, Greater Manchester Police said.
Police continued to appeal for information about the incident or the suspected perpetrator.