Labour boasts of deporting 45,000 people in 2007

The British Labour government has moved way beyond the days when it assured the public that it welcomed ‘genuine’ asylum seekers and was only introducing ‘tough’ measures to screen out possible abusers of the system. On 20 November the Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) issued a bullish press release, headlined ‘Annual asylum applications at a fifteen year low: record number of foreign national prisoners removed’.

BIA boasted it had ‘removed a record 3,500 foreign national prisoners so far this year’ and that in the quarter July to September has overseen a 15% increase in all enforced removals and ‘voluntary returns’ compared to the same period last year. BIA crowed that altogether this year 45,000 people have been removed from the UK, including nearly 10,000 asylum seekers, and promised it would not rest on its laurels: ‘We will toughen our borders further, which is why we are introducing biometric visas to tie travellers to one identity, an e-Borders programme which counts everyone in and out of the country, and ID cards for foreign nationals in Britain.’

Borders and Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said ‘…the system needs to be faster and tougher. So foreign criminals will soon face automatic deportation in the new year and I’m opening almost 25 per cent more detention space by next Christmas – including a new detention centre right next to Gatwick Airport.’

FRFI 200 December 2007 / January 2008


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