The Tory MP admitted she couldn’t “make a definitive statement of compatibility” of her legislation under the Human Rights Act.
She hailed the “security and opportunity” given to her parents, who emigrated in the 1960s to the UK, as she outlined plans to allow detention of “illegal arrivals without bail or judicial review” for 28 days “until they can be removed”.
She also said the law would put a cap, determined by Parliament, on the number of people granted asylum in the UK.
The proposals were met with a furious backlash from politicians, human rights campaigners and church leaders.
And Home Secretary was accused of being a “liar” by SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn after she claimed: “Let’s be honest, there are 100 million people around the world who could qualify for protection under our current rules. Let’s be clear they are coming here.”
Stuart McDonald, the SNP’s shadow justice and immigration spokesperson, pledged his party would oppose the legislation “every step of the way”.
READ MORE: UK Government slammed for plans to ‘stop the boats’
He said: “We believe all who seek asylum and seek refugee status deserve a fair hearing and we are 100% behind the clear statement from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees that there is no such thing as an illegal asylum seeker.
“Despite the dreary dog-whistle rhetoric, her bill will not so much as lay a solitary finger on people smugglers or people traffickers – but it will cause serious and devastating harm for people who have already endured incredible suffering.
“Afghans let down by the government’s utterly failed relocation scheme will be locked up and offshored, people who have fled persecution in Syria, Eritrea or Iran will remain blocked from the asylum system. “The policies that have seen hundreds of children going missing from hotels will be enshrined in her bill.”
He added: “If every country followed her example the whole system of refugee protection around the world would fall to pieces – but it is not just the system of refugee protection around the world which is going to be trashed by this bill, but the UK’s reputation as a place of sanctuary.”
In response the Home Secretary said: “A lot of passion, a lot of fury and a lot of fire.
“I would only wish the Scottish Government would bring so much passion to their approach to accommodating asylum seekers when it is Scotland who takes one of the lowest numbers of asylum seekers out of our United Kingdom.”
Braverman also claimed for a Government not to respond to “waves of illegal migrants” would be to “betray the will of the people we were elected to serve”.
She told the Commons: “Now, the United Kingdom must always support the world’s most vulnerable. Since 2015, we have given sanctuary to nearly half a million people.
READ MORE: Sunak’s small boats plans ‘push boundaries of international law’
“These include 150,000 people from Hong Kong, 160,000 people from Ukraine, 25,000 Afghans fleeing the Taliban. Indeed, my own parents decades ago found security and opportunity in this country, something for which my family is eternally grateful.
The Home Secretary is a liar. https://t.co/XMR1JrCWu0
— Stephen Flynn MP (@StephenFlynnSNP) March 7, 2023
“Crucially, these are decisions supported by the British people precisely because they were decisions made by the British people and their elected representatives, not by the people smugglers and other criminals breaking into Britain on a daily basis.
“For a government not to respond to waves of illegal migrants breaching our borders would be to betray the will of the people we were elected to serve.”
But the Scottish Greens equalities and justice spokesperson, Maggie Chapman MSP said: “Even by the appalling standards of the Home Office this is desperate and shameful.
“It is a cynical rehash of the same racist policies that they have already announced before. It is the product of a racist government that has run out of racist ideas. Yet, it is real people – vulnerable people – who will pay the terrible price for the hatred that it is fuelling.
“Rather than the anti-refuge hostility that has been imposed by successive Labour and Tory governments, the focus should be on providing safe routes to sanctuary, and working with others to address the reasons why so many people are forced to uproot their lives and take such terrible risks.”
She added: “Scotland can do so much better. With independence we can finally introduce a humane and progressive migration policy that recognises the suffering people have endured and offers support and solidarity.
“Until that day, we need safe routes and solidarity, not the kind of vile repression and inhumanity that we have constantly seen from the Home Office.”
Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty International UK’s Refugee and Migrant Rights Director, said: “Attempting to disqualify people’s asylum claims en masse regardless of the strength of their case is a shocking new low for the Government.
“There is nothing fair, humane or even practical in this plan, and it’s frankly chilling to see ministers trying to remove human rights protections for group of people whom they’ve chosen to scapegoat for their own failures.”
Rev Karen Hendry, convener of the Church of Scotland’s Faith Impact Forum said: “We urge the UK Government to rethink their proposal and take a sharp U-turn.
“This bill will not just strip people fleeing war and persecution of their right to seek safety in the UK but punish them, based simply on how they came here, not whether they need protection from war and persecution.”