The British government has failed to deport more than 50,000 rejected asylum seekers in a seven-year period, with most asylum claims being made by economic migrants rather than genuine refugees, a report has found.
A report has found that of the 80,813 asylum applications refused by the Home Office or withdrawn in the seven years to the end of 2016, only 29,659 individuals were removed. 51,154 remained.
Between 10,000 and 15,000 applications filed each year have no valid claim, and less than half of those have been removed, with removals falling from 15,000 per year in the early 2000s to fewer than 5,000 (2,541 enforced removals and 2,301 voluntary departures) last year.
The findings were published in a report by former UK Border Force chief David Wood for the think tank Civitas, which highlighted that “A large number of those claiming asylum here are not refugees but economic migrants with no legal claim to remain here, who exploit the asylum system to prolong their stay, often indefinitely.”
Mr Wood, who was also Director-General of Immigration Enforcement and a 31-year veteran of the Metropolitan Police’s organised crime and corruption units, recently weighed in on the sudden increase in the last two months of 2018 of Iranian boat migrants landing on Britain’s shores, warning that illegals and people-smugglers would use the UK Border Force cutters and rescue units as a “taxi service” to get them across the English Channel.
Writing in Controlling Britain’s Borders: The Challenge of Enforcing the UK’s Immigration Rules, Mr Wood said on the matter of the Channel migrants that, “As with the Mediterranean route, facilitators are paid to organise these crossings, and will resort to even less seaworthy vessels as the certainty of ‘rescue’ increases.
“The profits of the organised crime groups thus grow as the strategy succeeds with the migrants reaching the UK. The crime groups are then motivated to increase their lucrative trade.”
He went on: “More cutters could and should be deployed as preserving life is paramount. The difficulty, acknowledged by the Home Office, is that this would attract more crossings in less seaworthy vessels as the migrants and criminals know they can rely on being rescued, with the authorities effectively providing a taxi service to the UK.”
The paper also raised the tactic of “nationality swapping” as a method of deception to secure asylum by pretending to be from a country that is considered unsafe or where it is difficult to return failed asylum seekers — such as the example given of a Kenyan (from a safe country) pretending to be a Somali, as the United Kingdom finds it difficult to repatriate to Somalia.
Earlier this month, Mr Wood speculated that not all those Channel migrants presenting themselves as Iranians are actually are from the Islamic Republic, but claim to be so as is it difficult for the British authorities to arrange deportation to Iran.
“Another area of abuse is immigrants claiming to be younger than 18 when they are much older. This is because they know, or have been briefed, that even if refused asylum they will not be detained nor deported if they are under 18,” the report explained.
While Mr Wood said that while the number of those exposed to be adults pretending to be children fluctuates year by year, he said that in the decade from 2006 to 2016, 14,289 asylum seekers who had claimed to be under 18 who were found to be adults.
The former detective also raised the issue of “abusive applications” in the legal system which can “impede the legitimate removal process,” saying it is “a system which has been heavily abused by some lawyers.”
“This is particularly so in respect of last-minute challenges to deportation, often seeking an injunction in the hours before removal… over 75 percent of Judicial Review applications to the Administrative Court are for asylum and immigration matters,” he added.