Take Back Control? UK Deportations Down 55 Per Cent Compared to 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: A counter demonstration forms near the Home Office with a protester holding a sign saying 'No Borders No Nations Stop Deportations as police contain them so the pro and anti immigration protest groups are unable to meet on September 24, 2022 in London, England. Protesters …
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Deportations of foreigners have remained 55 per cent lower than pre-Chinese coronavirus levels, according to figures released by the UK Home Office on Thursday.

Over six years after the British public voted to leave the European Union, largely on the promise from Boris Johnson and others to finally “take back control” of the nation’s borders, that hope has still yet to be realised. While both legal and illegal immigration have soared to record highs, the Tory-led government has also failed to step up immigration enforcement and remove foreign criminals from the country.

On Thursday, the Home Office — the government body tasked with issues of immigration in Britain — revealed that in the year ending in June of 2022, there were just 3,250 foreigners removed from the country. This is a 55 per cent decline from the pre-pandemic and pre-Brexit year of 2019 when an already rock-bottom 7,198 people were deported.

The Home Office noted that the number of deportations have been declining since 2012, but they sharply fell during periods of governmental lockdowns during the Wuhan virus. The government department said that over the last two quarters (January to March and April to June 2022) the number of foreigners removed has increased to around 900 per three-month period. Yet, this is still just half of the 1,800 per quarter seen in 2019.

Following the official departure from the EU in 2020 and exiting the bloc’s Dublin Agreement on migrant returns, the UK government has struggled to sign deals with the EU or its individual member states on the issue. This has coincided with a massive increase in the number of illegal aliens flooding across the English Channel — mostly from the beaches of France, which has so far refused to come to an agreement on taking back illegal migrants.

In lieu of such a deal, the UK — under the leadership of then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson and then-Home Secretary Priti Patel negotiated an agreement with the East African nation of Rwanda in April to hold and process the asylum claims of boat migrants there rather than on British soil.

The scheme, which was intended to act as a deterrent, has seen the British government payout £140 million ($169 million) to the East African nation. This is despite the fact that no migrants have been sent to the Rwandan facilities after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) controversially stepped in at the last minute to block the first deportation flight in June. Although the UK left the EU, it is still bound by the ECHR as it is supposedly an independent body, despite being so closely aligned that it shares the same flag, anthem, and even building complex in Strasbourg as the bloc.

Even if the government of Rishi Sunak followed the advice of Brexit leader Nigel Farage, and indeed his own Home Secretary, Suella Braverman and remove the UK from the European court, the Rwanda plan still faces an uphill battle at home, with pro-mass migration activists and lawyers launching legal challenges against it at the High Court.

Appearing before the Home Affairs Committee in the House of Commons, Home Office permanent secretary Mattew Rycroft struggled to defend the value for money of the £140 million scheme.

“The UK has paid £120 million plus an additional £20 million for set-up costs to the government of Rwanda and it remains the case it could be value for money and it could not be,” he told MPs.

“I think it is worth underlining the purpose of the scheme is deterrence, is prevention. The success of the scheme will not be measured in how many thousands of people will be relocated to Rwanda but more by how many people do not make the dangerous crossing of the Channel.”

Since the Rwanda deal was signed, some 36,858 illegal aliens have crossed the English Channel on small boats from France. Earlier this month the government announced that it would pay the French another £63 million — on top of the hundreds of millions already sent — to increase patrols of the coastline. Yet, the vast sums of cash have yet to convince Paris to allow Britain to directly send back illegal migrants rather than bring them ashore in the UK, as has become customary.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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