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Border Agency gave up trying to find missing illegal immigrants

By Dover Express  |  Posted: November 30, 2012

By Simon Finlay

  • UNDER huge PRESSURE: The UK Border Agency

  • ROBUST: Charlie Elphicke MP has seen the front line at work first hand after the United Kingdom Border Agency has admitted it "made no effort" to track down 120,000 missing asylum seekers and immigrants.

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THE United Kingdom Border Agency has admitted it "made no effort" to track down 120,000 missing asylum seekers and immigrants, it has been claimed.

Many of those will have entered the country through the Port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel.

A local MP said that the revelations come as "little surprise" and stem from a legacy left by the last Labour government.

The Home Office has admitted regular security checks were not carried out despite UKBA assurances they were, said independent chief inspector or borders and report author John Vine.

Cases were effectively archived in order to meet a summer 2011 deadline.

MP Charlie Elphicke said: "I'm not surprised by this.

"It merely cements my long-held belief that we must have robust borders and adequate staff to operate the front line."

The UKBA conceded that its failures have led to asylum seekers and migrants –- who would otherwise have faced removal from Britain via centres like the Immigration Removals Centre in Dover – gaining rights to remain in the UK.

More than 37,000 were effectively written off as there was no apparent trace of them.

The report also outlined that UKBA staff was so overwhelmed with work that at one point more than 150 boxes of post, including letters from applicants, MPs and their legal representatives, simply lay unopened in a room in Liverpool.

As long ago as 2006, the then New Labour Home Secretary John Reid pledged to deal with the backlog within five years. It was a promise met with scepticism at the time.

The following year, it was disclosed that 450,000 cases lay in a backlog.

Tens of thousands of those cases would have had their roots in the asylum crisis after 1997 when people claiming asylum poured into Britain on lorries via ferries and on freight trains through the Channel Tunnel.

The flow of migrants and their families was halted in late 2002 when the Red Cross refugee centre – the so-called departure lounge to Britain – was shut down and demolished.

Calais has, however, remained a centre for people-traffickers to ply their trade.

A parliamentary committee found earlier this month that it was still struggling to deal with more than 300,000 unresolved cases, a figure equivalent to the population of Iceland.

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the Migration Watch UK campaign group, added it was "another chapter in a sorry tale" and the fundamental problem was the UKBA is "seriously under-resourced. . . reduced to sticking fingers in the dyke".

In his report, Mr Vine said: "On the evidence I found, it is hard not to reach the conclusion that cases were placed in the archive after only very minimal work in order to fulfil the pledge to conclude this work by the summer of 2011."

Asylum cases placed in the archive did not receive the regular six-month checks against either the Police National Computer or the Home Office warnings index watch-list which the agency had promised to carry out, the inspectors found.

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  • TheRanter  |  December 01 2012, 8:09AM

    I think IndianStudent sums it all up rather well. If there was a confidential report line for the public to say notify the UKBA/Local Authority of a 'flop house' for example - several of which are around in the Tunbridge Wells area for eastern Euro and Asian restaurant workers - they couldn't cope. The legislative hoops and jumps and ridiculous access to a seemingly bottomless legal aid pit are also a massive obstruction to effective policing of unlawful immigration.

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  • IndianStudent  |  November 30 2012, 8:12PM

    There is an undue focus purely on the numbers by the UK Government. Government is boasting on its ability to reduce the immigration for the first time in several years, however all they've mentioned is the number of net migration not the quality of immigrants who are actually leaving the UK. As an international student in UK till July 2012, I came across if not thousands at least hundreds of illegal immigrants at several points in time & everytime I had a chance, I considered it to be my duty to give information to UKBA as well as to Crime Stoppers about such illegal immigrants. I have been personally giving them these tip offs since Dec 2010 (that is when I got to know about ways to report illegal immigration). However, till today, I have not come across a single such person who was reported by me to have been removed from the UK, they're illegal immigrants with visas expired several years ago & there are in the UK for cash in hand jobs & other such jobs.They don't pay taxes and simply send all the cash they earn (after their expenses) to their native countries through private money transfer services (Money Laundering stuff) Such worms are eating up the economy of the UK, but because UKBA & the UK Government are least bothered to buckle up & start working hard on catching these fraudsters (even though all the information including their addresses were given to them by people like me), it is we, the genuine students who are suffering. Speaking particularly about my knowledge & immigrants whom I have known ever since I was in the UK, it is genuine students / professionals etc who left the UK as they were unable to get visas to work after their studies or companies were simply not hiring them as they were told that even if they were interviewed their application would be put on hold unless they have interviewed UK / EU candidates for the vacant position, & only if still they have any vacancy would they consider the immigrants. So finally these genuine students / professionals / migrants have now left the country, but illegal immigrants are still thriving in the London. Alone at Wembley Central tube station, on a weekday evening around 6 pm if immigration team decides to crack down illegal immigrants, they could actually get hold of several hundreds of illegal immigrants if not thousands, but they aren't doing it, there could be two reasons for this, they are lazy enough & not bothered, or they are simply being bribed by such communities to stay away from their (illegal immigrants') areas. and those charged with governance and those responsible to figure this out, seems to have been highly incompetent in fulfilling their duties. For this reason, due to continuous failure of & UK Govt on being able to crack down illegal immigrants, they have now taken the easy route, simply strict the policies, stop issuing visas, close work entry routes to non - EU immigrants under several categories, but they're not understanding the simple point, this would only be short term & would actually encourage more illegal immigrant activity within the UK. Not only that, once these genuine immigrants who were actually either willing to contribute to the economy through means of genuine employment or were already contributing to the overall economy through their employment, are all out of the UK, the tax system & benefit system would see a death-spiral because there would be less people to earn through genuine employment & hence less people to actually pay taxes & so less people would be able to get their benefits or the benefits would be sharply reduced in the longer run (as they are already in the process of happening),this is where the death spiral begins, less jobs / less incomes / less taxes / more benefit claims, goes on unless the economy crashes. Home Secretary's & David Cameron's urge to achieve short term targets are actually costing billions to the economy in the longer run, .....

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