Priti Patel is planning to fly Channel migrants back to Italy, Germany and France on a weekly basis, it can be revealed.
At least 1,000 people are set to be removed as part of a crackdown in order to deter the record numbers making the crossing from France in small boats.
But officials at the Home Office warn that their efforts are being hampered by “activist lawyers” and migrants who abuse the law.
The weekly targets and the attack on the legal profession have been condemned by campaigners and lawyers who accuse the Home Secretary of undermining the rule of law.
In response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the Telegraph, officials at the Immigration Enforcement Secretariat described the Channel crossings as “thoroughly unacceptable” and said that the Government and the Ms Patel are “equally frustrated by the severity of the situation”.
However, they warned that they are prevented from taking “simple measures” including intercepting migrants at sea and returning them or changing asylum processes because of legal constraints.
To stop the crossings, which has seen 6,300 people reach British shores this year alone, officials said that they are urging the French Government to “take more urgent and productive action to patrol the French coastline”.
British intelligence is being provided on criminal gangs who facilitate the crossing and drones and planes are being deployed to identify migrants preparing for a crossing to alert the French, it was confirmed.
The Government is already funding Gendarmes to patrol the beaches and talks are ongoing on the deployment of more UK funded French officers along the coastline.
The response added: “We have offered to bolster surveillance, policing and patrols in collaboration with French police patrols on their beaches and this is subject to further discussions with them.”
Genuine refugees must claim asylum in the first safe country they reach and “have no excuse to refuse and travel illegally and dangerously to the UK instead” and the Home Secretary “has strained every legal route possible to identify ways in which we can undertake returns”, the letter from officials said.
One flight left the UK on Tuesday but a second flight to Spain was on Thursday prevented from taking off by a last minute intervention by lawyers for three of the 18 migrants on board.
1,000 of the migrants who have crossed the Channel this year had already claimed asylum in other safe countries and the Government is now preparing to return them to those countries under the EU’s Dublin Convention.