One of the arguments the Remain campaign uses to justify EU membership is the supposed ability to deport foreign criminals. However, like the majority of arguments in favour of the EU, this is simply untrue. In theory the EU has created procedures to facilitate deporting criminals, but in practice this does not happen.
This is not just the view of Get Britain Out. It is also the view of the well-respected Home Affairs Select Committee.
The Chair of the Committee and Labour MP, Keth Vaz commented: “The public would expect our membership of the European Union to make it easier to deport European offenders, but this is clearly not the case, and we continue to keep thousands of these criminals at great and unnecessary expense. These failures are undermining confidence in the UK’s immigration system and in the UK’s EU membership.”
The Home Affairs Select Committee recently released a report detailing the abject failure of the EU in facilitating the objective of deporting undesirables from the UK. They found the UK is home to over 13,000 foreign offenders (the size of a small town) with 5,789 of these at large in communities across the country.
This is more than at any time since 2012, with 56 per cent living in the community for more than 2 years. Leading this table of shame is Poland, followed by Ireland and Romania. Currently the UK has 983 Polish prisoners which is 10 per cent of the total number of foreign prisoners, 764 come from Ireland and 635 are from Romania. What do these countries have in common? They are all members of the EU!
According to the Government, the cost per prisoner per year is £33,785, therefore the cost of foreign offenders currently in UK prisons is more than £240 million per year of UK taxpayers’ money.
We are wasting this money because we cannot deport crooks back to their home countries – such as Poland – because the conditions of Poland’s prisons are not up to the high standards of Polish lags in comfy UK jails!
The report talks of Home Secretary Theresa May as: “Unconvincing in suggesting that remaining a member of the EU will make it easier to remove these individuals from the UK”. The issue of our ability to deport EU criminals is twofold – firstly the process is fundamentally flawed, and secondly, some countries simply refuse to take their convicts back.
Those involved in the Criminal Justice System will not be at all surprised by these figures, with many backing Brexit because of their experiences.
Dominic Raab, currently Justice Minister for the Government and a leading Brexiteer argues: “The EU is making us less safe. If we take back control we will be able to deport foreign criminals from our prisons.”
Under EU rules the Government is only able to deport an EU national from this country if the person’s conduct represents a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat which affects public policy, security or health.
When attempting to deport a criminal, the UK Government must ensure the deportation complies with the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, and also the European Convention on Human Rights (which is separate from the EU).
However, if an EU Member State doesn’t enforce these rights, the EU Court will enforce them instead. Despite taking into account an absurd variety of circumstances, the Government may not take into account the cost of keeping the crook in this country, and a previous conviction on its own is not enough to warrant deportation.
The EU has, in theory, created the Prisoner Transfer Agreement – which is about as useful as a chocolate teapot.
At the same time as the Government taking it easy on EU prisoners, it is aggressively targeting non-EU students with dawn raids to kick them out of the country. The problem is clearly EU membership – if it wasn’t, then the Government would be cracking down on undesirables from the EU rather than targeting a few students from India.
Over recent years the number of non-EU prisoners has decreased dramatically, with EU prisoners increasing at a rate of knots. In 2004 there were 2,039 Jamaican prisoners in UK prisons, compared with 556 Jamaican prisoners currently in UK prisons.
This shows the feebleness of our deportation and immigration procedures. While we are a member of the EU anyone from an EU Member State can come to this country – ‘no questions asked’ – whereas those coming from outside the EU must satisfy a strict test. As a result, Jamaican criminals can be refused entry to the UK, but we have no choice but to allow Polish criminals to come here.
This problem is of course linked to the ‘free movement of people’ requirement under EU law. The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show net migration into the UK last year was 330,000 people, with 184,000 of them coming from the EU.
The Remain campaign claims we can check those coming into the UK from the EU for criminal convictions, however systematic checks at all entry points are not carried out. When a migrant attempts to come into the UK, their details are checked against a list of ‘suspects’.
However, this list only comprises of high-profile offenders, and this process is unlikely to inform the authorities of a migrant’s previous convictions. Due to the coachloads and planeloads of migrants coming here from the EU – with no advance warning – these systematic checks are unfeasible.
Outside the EU we could operate the same system for EU migrants which we use for non-EU migrants. A points-based system – where potential migrants would need to pass various criteria even before they arrive on UK shores – would be a possibility for Britain’s future.
This would give our Government notice of their potential arrival and allow time to check their credentials. We would have the ability to control the number of applicants along with assessing what we need for the overall benefit of the United Kingdom.
All this proves the UK is NOT safer while we are a member of the EU. The opposite is true. While we are in the EU we have to accept ‘free movement of people’, which does not only allow hard workers to come here to live and work, but also allows the free movement of terrorists and criminals.
Our prisons are at breaking point already, and many communities are at their wits’ end. The only way to keep this country safe, and deport undesirables is to vote to Get Britain Out as soon as possible.
Jayne Adye, director of cross-party, grassroots Eurosceptic campaign Get Britain Out