HOME Secretary Priti Patel has accused the SNP of “trying to thwart the safety and security of the British public” over its stance on immigration – and said they would “much rather have an immigration policy of open borders”.

Her comments follow the dawn raid in Glasgow’s Kenmure Street by Border Force officials earlier this month, when two Indian men – Lakhvir Singh and Sumit Sehdevi – were detained for eight hours and later released on Eid, the religious festival marking the end of Ramadan.

That triggered a huge protest in Pollokshields, forcing the immigration officers to withdraw. Police Scotland said the decision to release the men back into the community was an operational one, after the crowd chanted: “These are our neighbours, let them go.”

READ MORE: Why the timing of return of Home Office dawn raids is no coincidence

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said then that she fundamentally disagreed with the UK Home Office immigration policy. Sturgeon, the MSP for Glasgow Southside, said on social media the events were “entirely down to @ukhomeoffice actions”, and that police officers had been placed “in an invidious position”.

She said: “They do not assist in the removal of asylum seekers but do have a duty to protect public safety. They act independently of ministers but I support this decision ... To act in this way, in the heart of a Muslim community as they celebrated Eid, and in an area experiencing a Covid outbreak was a health and safety risk.”

However, Patel told Sky News yesterday: “The point about our immigration policy – immigration is a reserved matter for the Government here [at Westminster] and quite frankly it is pretty clear that when it comes to the nationalists in Scotland they would much rather have an immigration policy of open borders, no checks when it comes to criminals coming to the UK and no border controls, and I think actually her [Sturgeon’s] comments also reflect upon the nationalist position when it comes to removing people that have no legal basis to be in the UK.”

Patel said it had nothing to do with Eid: “Immigration enforcement were absolutely doing their job in terms of removing people with no legal basis to be in the UK.

“I think it is absolutely sorry, a sorry state of affairs, that we see the nationalists in Scotland basically trying to thwart the safety and security of the British public but also trying to prevent the British Government from removing those with no legal basis to be in the United Kingdom.”

READ MORE: Fears for man held after 'secret' dawn raid as police stay silent

SNP immigration spokesperson Anne McLaughlin retorted: “Priti Patel demonstrated perfectly how the Tory government’s callous immigration policies stand in direct contrast with the open and welcoming environment that would be presented by an independent Scotland as a member of the European Union.

“Scotland resoundingly rejected the dawn raids of the Home Office last week, we will continue to urge the Tories to bring these to an end.

“We cannot trust the Tories with Scotland’s immigration policy, it is not fit for purpose for the needs of Scotland. The only way we can re-establish an immigration policy that fits with Scotland’s economy is as an independent country at the top table of the European Union.”