Wednesday, April 25, 2012

We only deport a third of illegal migrants we catch: New figures deliver another blow to UK Border Agency

Fewer than one in three of the illegal immigrants caught last year have been deported, according to figures disclosed yesterday. They showed that of 21,298 individuals discovered in Britain unlawfully, only 6,232 were returned to their countries in the same year.

The figures threatened to deepen the troubles at the UK Border Agency, the organisation responsible for policing immigration law.

The agency has already been heavily criticised this month after it was shown that more than one in five foreign criminals supposed to have been deported from the country after release from prison in 2010 were still here.  It was found that 60 per cent of another group of 1,000 foreign criminals mistakenly freed from jail six years ago have not been removed from Britain.

Border officials have also been found to have abandoned checks on arrivals into the country without seeking the clearance of ministers.

The unapproved relaxation of passport controls meant 500,000 passengers who came on Eurostar trains entered the country without being checked against lists of suspected terrorists and criminals.

The failure to deport illegal immigrants detected last year was revealed in figures obtained under Freedom of Information rules.

The biggest group of illegal migrants who have successfully evaded deportation during the year in which they were found to be here are from Pakistan.  Other countries featured in the figures include Iran, India, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

Earlier this year, the Mail revealed how authorities are aware of a number of such immigrants sleeping rough under the M4 in London.

Most of the so-called Bridge Men of Little Punjab, living near Heston, West London, are thought to be illegal immigrants, and the police, the UK Border Agency and local authorities are said to have long been aware of them.

The lack of success in rapid deportation of illegal immigrants comes as the stand-off between Home Secretary Theresa May and the European Court of Human Rights over terror suspect Abu Qatada continues.

The failure of Mrs May to deport Qatada to his home country Jordan has given the impression that the Government is unable to deport foreign criminals or terrorists in the face of opposition in the courts and the reluctance of many unwanted migrants to go home.  A spokesman for the UK Border Agency said: ‘Of the 21,298 individuals identified as being an immigration offender, 6,232 were removed during the period January 2011 to December 2011.

‘It should be noted that removals are hindered by barriers such as outstanding appeals, documentation issues, and subjects absconding.’

Alp Mehmet, of the MigrationWatch pressure group, said: ‘If we are going to have confidence in our immigration control system we have got to make greater efforts to deport people who should not be here, and we have to do that quickly.’


Sarkozy the loser doesn't deserve our support, says French anti-immigration leader

Marine Le Pen dealt Nicolas Sarkozy a major blow last night by declaring he had ‘lost’ the election and refusing to tell her supporters to back him.

The French president’s hopes of clinging to power rely on picking up the votes of many of the six million who backed Miss Le Pen’s National Front in record numbers in the first round of the national poll.

The strong showing for the Far Right party triggered alarm around Europe, while the prospect of Mr Sarkozy losing to socialist opponent Francois Hollande in the second round spooked financial markets.

Economists fear Mr Hollande will unpick a Brussels deal on fiscal union and shatter an uneasy consensus on the need for austerity measures across the Continent.

The political uncertainty in France, the world’s fifth largest economy, helped trigger a sell-off on both sides of the Atlantic. The French stock market fell by 2.83 per cent, Germany’s by 3.36 per cent and London’s by 1.85 per cent.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday expressed shock that nearly 20 per cent of French voters had gone for the National Front. The alliance between Berlin and Paris is key to the European project.

Miss Le Pen’s party won 18 per cent of the vote, its largest ever share, in Sunday’s first round, but yesterday her party said there would be no deal with the current president.

She said: ‘I don’t expect anything except that the system will implode,’ adding: ‘Sarkozy has already lost the presidential election.’ Bruno Bilde, Miss Le Pen’s senior aide, said: ‘There has to be reorganisation of French political life.

‘It’s therefore out of the question for the National Front candidate to negotiate … or to offer her vote in favour of Nicolas Sarkozy or Francois Hollande. Marine Le Pen is convinced of that.’

A National Front spokesman said: ‘We shall be abstaining, because we do not want to give a green light to any of the two candidates, because they are the same’.

Opinion polls have suggested that up to six in ten Le Pen voters could back Mr Sarkozy in the second round. Mr Hollande won 28.6 per cent and Sarkozy took 27 per cent on Sunday.

Mr Hollande is now the favourite to win. If he does, he would become France’s first socialist leader in 17 years.

Both contenders tried to tack to the right to try to appeal to voters who had backed Miss Le Pen. Speaking at a rally in central France, Mr Sarkozy said he ‘had heard’ Le Pen’s message and vowed to be tough on immigration.

He said: ‘National Front voters must be respected. They voiced their view. It was a vote of suffering, a crisis vote. Why insult them? This anxiety, this suffering, I know them, I understand them.  ‘They concern our borders, outsourcing, control of immigration, work, security, for them and their families. I know that in this fast-moving world, the concern of our patriots to preserve their way of life is the key issue in this election.’

In Brittany, Mr Hollande said: ‘My message? We are a large country and we will recover – we have no need of divisions.’

Pierre Moscovici, his campaign director, said the Socialist candidate would continue to be ‘very open’ to legal immigration, but ‘we must fight with absolute firmness, without concession, against illegal immigration’.


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