The row over deporting foreign nationals deepened last night after more than 20 were pulled off a Home Office charter flight.
Lawyers for 23 migrants who arrived in Britain on small boats across the Channel successfully blocked their removal from this country by submitting new legal challenges.
The migrants had been due to be deported alongside a group of criminals, including rapists, on the flight to Poland.
It came less than a week after 23 Jamaican criminals – including a murderer – avoided deportation by submitting similar legal challenges at the last moment.
Migrants arriving to Britain on small boats across the Channel are being picked up by Border Force officials
In the latest case of what Priti Patel has described as abuse of the system by ‘activist lawyers’, the lawyers claimed – for the first time – that their clients had human rights cases or were victims of ‘modern slavery’.
Nineteen successful deportations did take place yesterday. The Home Office said a group of criminals who had between them received jail terms totalling more than 60 years were sent back to Poland.
They included four rapists, robbers and violent criminals convicted of GBH.
A Home Office spokesman said: ‘Once again, we received a number of late legal claims from migrants who had arrived on small boats who were also meant to be removed on this flight, meaning we were unable to proceed with their removal. These claims are often without merit but are given full legal consideration.
‘We are determined to reform our broken asylum system which currently allows those who come to the UK through illegally facilitated routes from safe countries to undermine and slow down our efforts to protect those fleeing oppression, persecution and tyranny through existing legal routes.
‘We will introduce a new system that is firm and fair.’
Alp Mehmet, chairman of Migration Watch UK, said: ‘Last-minute legal challenges have long been a problem with regard to immigration removals.
Home Secretary Priti Patel blasted Labour MPs and celebrities who signed an open letter calling for the Jamaica deportation flight to be stopped
Even High Court judges have referred to this and called for it to stop.
‘It is high time the Government dealt with what amounts to abuse of the law.’
Last Wednesday a flight to Jamaica which had been due to remove 36 criminals saw a flurry of last-minute challenges.
Home Secretary Miss Patel blasted Labour MPs and celebrities such as supermodel Naomi Campbell and actress Thandie Newton who signed an open letter calling for the Jamaica deportation flight to be stopped and linking it with the Windrush scandal.
She told the Mail it was ‘misjudged’ and ‘deeply offensive’ to link the removal of convicted criminals with the innocent victims of Home Office mistakes.
The Channel migrants who were supposed to be on the flight to Poland yesterday were being sent back under European Union rules which state that asylum claims must be processed in the first country reached by the claimant.
The nationality of the 23 migrants whose removal was blocked is not known, but the route to the UK through eastern Europe is used by large numbers of Albanians.
Britain grants 26 per cent of asylum claims made by Albanians, compared with just 10 per cent granted by France.