Friday, April 13, 2012

British PM waters down pledge to  kick out all foreign criminals

David Cameron has abandoned a pledge to deport thousands of foreign criminals, including burglars, violent thugs and thieves.

The Tory leader had promised in Opposition to change immigration rules so prisoners from outside the EU were automatically sent home – even those serving short jail terms.

Currently around 7,000 foreign offenders a year escape deportation because they have been handed a sentence of less than 12 months.

But the Government has admitted it is only tightening the rules so that drug dealers serving less than a year are automatically deported.

It means other offenders, including violent thugs and benefit fraudsters, will still not be kicked out. The revelation comes after MPs criticised the UK Border Agency – responsible for processing foreign criminals and illegal immigrants – for not doing enough to kick out ex-prisoners.

Its report showed just 40 per cent of foreign criminals released from prison in a border scandal six years ago have been sent home.

In 2006, 1,013 foreign nationals were let out without being considered for deportation. By November last year,  just 397 had been deported and more than 50 had still not been found.

Mr Cameron’s pledge came four years ago after a leaked internal  prisons memo showed immigration officials had ‘no interest’ in deporting short sentence prisoners.

In response, a Tory policy document, called Prisons With A Purpose, published in 2007, said: ‘We will accelerate the deportation of foreign national prisoners before the end  of their sentences and extend  automatic deportation to non-EU prisoners serving less than a year.’

The Lib Dems have also pledged in the past to toughen up the rules.

It is estimated extending deportation to ‘all eligible foreign nationals’ would mean an extra 7,000 would face proceedings every year. In 2010, 5,342 foreign criminals were sent home, compared with 5,530 in 2009.

In a Parliamentary written answer, the Home Office said the 12 months or less policy remains in force.

Immigration Minister Damian Green added that an exception is made if a judge recommends an offender for deportation, or if the criminal has a string of convictions within the past five years.

In addition, drug offenders face automatic deportation for any crime other than possession, even for short sentences.

Tory MP Priti Patel, who asked the question, said: ‘The Government should make every effort to ensure all foreign criminals are deported. They are a huge drain on the criminal justice system.’

Ministers recently toughened rules on sending home European Economic Area nationals.  They are deported if they have served a custodial sentence of 12 months or more for drugs, violence or sex crimes and of two years for all other offences.

Home Secretary Theresa May has expressed her determination to stop foreign criminals using human rights laws to remain in the country.  In 2010 nearly 400 won appeals against deportation using Article 8, the right to a private and family life.

In the past decade, the number of foreign nationals in prison in  England and Wales has nearly doubled to 10,866 in last December.

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: ‘Those who come to the UK must abide by our laws. We will always seek to deport any foreign criminal sentenced to more than 12 months as quickly as possible.’


Romney likely best since 'Ike' on illegal immigration

The head of an organization that advocates for reduced immigration believes Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney would be far better than recent presidents in dealing with the daunting problem of illegal immigration.

With the recent departure of Rick Santorum from the Republican field, Numbers USA's immigration presidential scorecard is down to President Barack Obama and three GOP candidates. Roy Beck, founder and president of the immigration think tank, says Romney's "B-minus" grade is a stark contrast to Obama's "F-minus" -- and better than Newt Gingrich's "D" and Ron Paul's "D-minus" grades.

"In terms of rating him with any Republican or Democratic nominee for president, Romney's not perfect on this issue," he says, "but I'm going to say [he] would probably be on a par with [Ronald] Reagan [and] better than every other nominee until you go back to Eisenhower."

According to Beck, the former Massachusetts governor is excellent when it comes to opposing amnesty and advocating the need for E-Verify. "Romney is very, very strong on the idea that the number-one thing we have to do is shut off the jobs magnet," he states. "He said the number-one thing is to have mandatory 50 state E-Verify."

The Numbers USA founder says having a president push hard for shutting down the "jobs magnet" would be a tremendous step forward on the immigration front.


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