Priti Patel has been criticised for allegedly planning to deport homeless people who repeatedly engage in low level crimes.
The home secretary has reportedly asked Home Office officials to discuss new immigration rules that would make it easier to deport rough sleepers who engage in “persistent anti-social or dangerous behaviour”.
It is understood Patel wrote to ministers on Friday to inform them of the plans, according to the Mail on Sunday.
After it was revealed, the scheme was blasted by commentators who warned “somebody is going to end up getting hurt”.
Human rights lawyer Shoaib M Khan tweeted: “Can @pritipatel at least pace herself with her vile, xenophobic policies? We just heard about her ‘catch migrants in nets and sail them back to France’ idea an hour ago. And now this.”
“You have years to prove all your evilness, Priti. You can take your time, you know.|
Dr Charlotte Riley tweeted: “They can talk about nets and wave machines all they want; when the policy is aimed entirely at reducing the number of people who reach British shores, ultimately it doesn’t matter to the Home Office whether those people are being turned back or drowned.”
Author Alan Travis wrote: “Priti Patel is not giving up and somebody is going to end up getting hurt. This what happens when you order a military response to a humanitarian crisis.”
It comes as the Home Office's clandestine channel threat commander Dan O’Mahoney said plans are underway for Britain to use nets as a method of disabling dinghies carrying migrants across the Channel.
In an interview with The Telegraph, O’Mahoney said the tactic would be used as part of a "safe return" strategy in which British vessels would then transfer migrants back to France.
However, the tactic has so far been delayed due to France not currently accepting such migrants back into the country.
The former Royal Marine told the paper the strategy involved “safely disabling the engine and then taking the migrants on board our vessel”.
He said: “We definitely are very, very close to being able to operationalise a safe return tactic where we make an intervention safely on a migrant vessel, take migrants on board our vessel and then take them back to France.”
O’Mahoney added it was one of a number of methods “which we may deploy over the next few months. But given that we’re not using them yet I'm not at liberty to go into detail about them... We are working with maritime security departments across law enforcement and military, everywhere across government (to) come up with new tactics to tackle this problem.”
O'Mahoney used the interview to unveil a four-stage plan to tackle the problem of illegal migration across the Channel.
At least 1,880 migrants completed the crossing in September, according to analysis by the PA news agency.