UKBA backlog may lead to unwarranted amnesty for illegal immigrants
Politicians have warned today that a backlog of cases that the UK Border Agency (UKBA) is trying to clamp down on could lead to a large number of immigrants being granted asylum in what is being described as an “amnesty”.
Over 300,000 cases needed to be investigated by the end of June. This was an increase of over 25,000 cases since the end of March, the majority of which came from the 24,000-strong “migration refusal pool”, or immigrants who had been refused asylum but whose whereabouts remain unknown.
The Commons Home Affairs Select Committee’s report concluded that although the backlog must be dealt with, cases should be dealt with properly thorough checks as opposed to rushing them through to meet deadlines and targets.
Included in the list of 302,064 cases are the 95,000 ones in the “controlled archives” – or a specific backlog of immigration and asylum cases – that the UKBA has pledged will be closed by the end of the year.
In order to meet this target, all cases will need to be individually assessed, when only 29,000 were reviewed in one year previously.
The Committee’s chairman, Keith Vaz MP, explained: “We are concerned that the closure of the controlled archives may result in a significant number of people being granted effective amnesty in the United Kingdom, irrespective of the merits of their case”.
He went on to say that it is now up to the UKBA to create what he called “a transparent and robust approach to tackling this problem instead of creating new ways of camouflaging backlogs.”
A spokeswoman for the UKBA disagreed that there was any chance of over-granting the right to asylum, however, saying that there is: “absolutely no question of an amnesty”.
“If any of these individuals come to light in the future, we will take action,” she said, adding that of the number of asylum seekers whose whereabouts are unknown, “thousands of checks on government and private sector databases have shown no trace of them being in the UK.”