She has also gone head to head with France in recent months after promising to pay the French border authorities £54 million during 2021 and 2022 to increase its police patrols, increase aerial surveillance and security infrastructure at ports.
As this has not stemmed the flow of people arriving to UK shores, Patel has tried to introduce extra measures on the UK side of the Channel.
Author James Felton hit out at Patel by retweeting her sympathetic tweet about the migrant deaths alongside newspaper articles which revealed the home secretary’s reported proposals to tackle the crisis – although the vast majority of these supposed suggestions have not been used.
He added the caption: “This you, this you, this you, this you?”
The leaked proposals – most of which were understood to be rejected by the government – also included moving migrants to the remote UK territory in the South Atlantic called Ascension Island, 4000 miles from Britain.
Another suggestion included processing migrants on disused ferries, moored off the coast, or installing “floating walls” through temporary “marine fencing” which would physically stop boats crossing.
Using a wave machine in the Channel was reportedly considered at one point.
Felton also posted a headline from The Metro with a headline last month about the most controversial policy considered by the home office – turning small boats arriving in UK waters around.
It read: “Priti Patel wants to give immunity to Border Force over refugee deaths.”
This was reportedly so Border Force staff who introduce the new “push back” clause would not be prosecuted if any refugees died in the process.
Patel has faced many legal challenges over these pushback policies, and it remains unclear if the government has actually implemented this proposal – used only in UK waters – yet.
Still, her Nationality and Borders Bill, which aims to crack down on people arriving illegally into the UK, is not winning any of her critics over, especially after the recent fatalities.
I don’t want to hear another hand wring from Priti Patel. Her Nationality and Borders Bill had a clause in it that would have allowed the govt to prosecute anyone rescuing asylum seekers in the Channel.