Suella Braverman has said the government will create “safe and legal” routes for asylum seekers after they have dealt with the boats crisis.
The home secretary said they first wanted to combat the “appalling people-smuggling gangs” who risk people’s lives in the Channel.
It comes after four people died after a migrant boat capsized in the English Channel on Wednesday.
Braverman is under pressure from MPs who argue that the crisis could be dealt with if the country had “safe and legal” asylum routes.
Last month she was unable to say how an African orphan could seek asylum in the UK during an exchange with a fellow Tory MP.
Braverman told the Commons: “We will extend safe and legal routes once we have dealt with the appalling people-smuggling gangs risking people’s lives, as we have seen this morning.
“This government won’t stop until we have seen progress, until people understand that taking this lethal journey is not safe, it is not lawful, and it will not lead them to a better life in the United Kingdom,” she added.
Later, Braverman said the prime minister had committed to ensure there is a legitimised, capped and quota-based system.
She made comments in response to a question from SNP MP Alison Thewliss who said: “The reality is — and as it has always been — that while safe and legal routes do not exist and while people wait years for applications for family reunion, desperate people will continue to take life threatening journeys because they feel they have no choice.”
Thewliss added: “Sympathy is one thing, effective action is another.”