Saturday, November 20, 2010

Failed asylum seekers ignore British courts

Locking them up until they get on a plane is too harsh, apparently

At least 100 failed asylum seekers have gone missing after being ordered to leave the UK since May, figures showed today. A total of 176 unsuccessful asylum applicants absconded after authorities served them with removal notices, and a maximum of 75 have been tracked down since.

But the figure of 101 unaccounted for may be higher because of the way records are kept. Tory MP David Nuttall, who uncovered the figures, said there could be 'hundreds' of failed asylum seekers in the country and that it was 'pointless' to tell people to leave if they could not be forced to do so.

The UK Border Agency said it makes 'strenuous efforts' to stop failed asylum seekers from absconding and that measures are in place to try and track them down.

In a written parliamentary reply to Mr Nuttall (Bury North), immigration minister Damian Green said 176 failed asylum seekers absconded between May 1 and October 31 this year after being served with removal notices. Home Office figures showed 32 had subsequently been detained, 19 removed or embarked, and 24 had subsequently lodged a new application for asylum. But officials said the same individuals could be counted in more than one of the categories.

In the same period for 2009, 265 absconded with 94 subsequently detained, 43 removed or embarked, and 66 new applications lodged - leaving at least 62 unaccounted for.

'This is evidence that there are hundreds of failed asylum seekers somewhere in the country and we know not where,' Mr Nuttall said. 'The vast majority of my constituents expect that once asylum seekers have exhausted the appeals process, and it has been determined that they do not have the right to be here, that they would properly be removed.

'Clearly that is not working in all cases and I will be interested to see how it is proposed that this is tightened up. 'I am fully supportive of what the Government is doing but I want to improve the operation of government. They have taken over the system that was in place before but it is not working. 'So let's see what we can do to improve it. If somebody stays anyway it is pointless to tell them they cannot stay.'

But Matthew Coats, head of immigration at the UK Border Agency, said: 'When an individual absconds we circulate information and use intelligence to track them down. We prioritise cases where public safety may be at risk, working closely with police. Immigration absconders and those who help them face the risk of prosecution, an unlimited fine and prison.

'The UK Border Agency makes strenuous efforts to ensure that failed asylum seekers do not abscond in the first place. Applicants have to regularly report in person, but we also make personal visits to ensure that failed asylum seekers are still living at their recorded address. 'We continue to return those who refuse to leave voluntarily.'

Around 25,000 asylum applications are received each year. In 2009, 72 per cent of applications - 17,545 cases - were refused.


Stop being so generous to migrants: French plea to Britain after Dunkirk suburb is over-run

The mayor of a French village invaded by migrants has called on Britain to halt handouts to deter them from crossing the Channel. His comments came after makeshift tents appeared in the Dunkirk suburb of Teteghem, which is less than five miles from the main port. Fears are growing there that it could become the site of a new ‘Jungle’ – the infamous ghetto in nearby Calais which was torn down last year.

Franck Dhersin, a former MP and adviser to President Nicolas Sarkozy, says his village cannot cope, and pointed the finger at Britain’s benefits system. He told the Daily Mail: ‘The reason the migrants keep coming to France and slipping over the Channel is because the UK is too generous with them. 'Stop giving them money and a place to live and they will soon go somewhere else. End of problem.’

He revealed that his village was currently home to 200 Afghans, Iraqis, Kurds, Sudanese, Vietnamese, Eritreans and Palestinians. ‘For the past four weeks, numbers of migrants camping out have been increasing by 50 per week. 'At this rate within a month we will have another Calais Jungle on our doorsteps,’ he said. ‘I regularly visit the migrants and they all tell me they want to go to England.

‘Why? The reason is simple. They have money and a place to stay as soon as they arrive. ‘England has done a lot to help the situation by setting up police and Customs over here, but the problem still remains.

‘Since they razed the Calais Jungle last year the situation has changed,’ added Mr Dhersin. ‘Now, instead of choosing Calais, the migrants are trying Dunkirk and the Belgian ports of Zeebrugge and Ostend.’

He said that Teteghem was an ideal squat location for migrants because it is next to the motorway linking France to Belgium and very close to the port of Dunkirk.

‘The reason they are here is because the people-smugglers have charged them money to camp here. The smugglers are dangerous and very violent. 'Last week a Vietnamese man stabbed another man and the week before that there was a shooting.’

Already migrants have been knocking on doors asking for water and power to charge their mobile phones, said the mayor. ‘We are a small village with a population of 7,500. The migrants are hardened people. They have travelled thousands of miles to get here. ‘They have nothing to lose and will stop at nothing to get what they need’, he added. 'Something has got to be done, but in the long term the problem must be solved in Britain. 'We are just victims of a British problem here.’

Francoise Lavoisier, of the Salam migrant charity, said: ‘Lots of the migrants used to live in the Jungle. 'They are trying to go to Britain because they think it’s an Eldorado.’


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