Britain cannot deport tens of thousands of illegal migrants for the simple reason that it has no power to do so, a government minister said last night. Richard Harrington made the startling admission and added they will stay because they had “no place to go”.
By refusing to disclose their nationality – often burning their passports on or after arrival – the illegal migrants seeking protection can exploit human rights laws that bar the expulsion of failed asylum seekers of unknown origin.
Mr Harrington, who is a Home Office minister, was responding to MPs who criticised the Government for failing to repatriate illegals. “Where would they be deported to, most of them?” he said. “This deportation sounds easy, it sounds a common sense thing to do. But the truth is most of these illegal migrants have got no place to be deported to.”
The Daily Mail reports that Christopher Chope, whose private member’s bill would make it a criminal offence to be an illegal immigrant after June, insisted migrants were given a “perverse incentive” to head to the UK. The Tory MP said they were given a “slap on the wrist” by “soft touch” officials.
“Public anxiety about illegal immigration is at an all-time high and the effectiveness of the Government in tackling it, in my submission, is at an all-time low,” he added.
“If we got tough with illegal migrants in our country then the people smugglers would divert them away from the United Kingdom, because the way people smugglers operate is they are always going to try to use the weakest points of entry.”
The disclosure of the UK’s powerlessness to deport illegal immigrants comes as latest figures show that all of Europe is awash with economic migrants from the Middle East.
As Breitbart London has reported, the number of asylum seekers claiming refuge in Europe more than doubled in 2015. The European Union’s (EU) own data agency, Eurostat, delivered the hard, statistical evidence that confirms the unprecedented scale of the influx into the bloc.
Eurostat said a record total of 1,255,600 first-time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the 28 member states – more than double the number in 2014.
The figures showed that 38,400 people lodged claims in the UK – a 19 per cent increase on the year before.
Mr Harrington blamed the Dublin Convention, an EU rule under which migrants are supposed to claim asylum in the first member state they set foot in, for the UK’s inability to deport illegal immigrants.
Challenging Mr Harrington on the convention, Sir Edward Leigh, a Tory Eurosceptic, said: “What people can’t understand is where someone has palpably come through perfectly safe countries – Spain, France, Italy – and they’ve arrived here and they’re caught, why can’t they be sent back to France and claim asylum there?”
A Home Office spokesman told the Mail: “We have legislated to make it harder for people to lodge spurious appeals and through the Immigration Act 2014 we have made it easier to remove people who should not be in the UK through the introduction of ‘deport now, appeal later’ provisions.
“The Immigration Bill, currently going through Parliament, will extend these provisions to apply to all human rights claims by migrants, except where removal pending appeal would be in breach of their human rights.”
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