Bogus asylum seekers escaping deportation
By Tom Brady
Saturday January 05 2008
Almost four out of every five deportation orders for bogus asylum seekers over the past two years have not been enforced.
The orders were signed by the Minister for Justice after the applicants were found to be here illegally.
But the gardai were unable to implement them because they had to give 15-days notice of arrest to the bogus asylum seekers.
The majority of illegals could not then be traced when the gardai attempted to deport them while others used last-minute judicial reviews in the courts to prevent them from being deported.
New legislation is to be introduced by Justice Minister Brian Lenihan later this month and this will be aimed at updating immigration laws and eliminating loopholes.
Gardai will be given powers to arrest bogus asylum seekers for immediate deportation while regulations governing the use of judicial reviews in the eleventh hour will also be tightened up.
Figures published by the Department of Justice show that about two thousand deportation orders were signed by either Mr Lenihan or his predecessor, Michael McDowell, in the past two years.
However, only a total of 437 orders were carried out by members of the garda national immigration bureau.
Last year immigration officials dealt with a thousand judicial review cases in the High Court, of which an estimated 600 involved deportation orders.
Some 135 deportation orders to non-EU countries were carried out last year while another 225 “asylum shoppers”, who were found to have already made asylum claims in other jurisdictions before arriving here, were transferred to other European states under the terms of the Dublin 11 regulation.
The authorities scored a success rate of 68pc with asylum shoppers last year, compared with 53pc the previous year. Justice officials said the rate was high by European standards and was due to a number of new strategies being implemented to improve the operation of the Dublin 11 regulation.
A further 416 illegals, who would otherwise have been served with deportation orders, agreed to return home voluntarily last year, up from 2006 when 238 agreed to accept assistance from the State for a move back home.
Meanwhile, the Department confirmed that 3,985 asylum applications were received here last year, a drop of 7.6pc on the corresponding figure of 4,314 in 2006.
The Irish Independent disclosed yesterday that the figures for 2007 were the lowest in a decade and represented a decrease of 66pc on the 2002 figure.
The top five source countries last year were Nigeria, Iraq, China, Pakistan and Georgia. Romania no longer featured on the table because it became a member of the EU at the start of 2007.
Mr Lenihan said last night he welcomed the downward trend in asylum applications as it allowed the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service to continue to increase the priority given to other areas of its operations, such as processing applications for visas and citizenship.
– Tom Brady Security Editor