Posted on September 2, 2005

EU Says It Deports Only 1 in 3 Illegal Immigrants

Reuters, Sept. 1

BRUSSELS, Sept 1 — Only one in three illegal immigrants and failed asylum seekers are expelled from the European Union each year, the European Commission said on Thursday, proposing new rules to close some loopholes.

In 2004, the 25-nation bloc decided to send back 650,000 non-EU nationals but only 212,000 people were actually deported or left voluntarily. Many of those facing expulsion go missing.

Britain alone says it has 280,000 failed asylum seekers and up to 570,000 illegal immigrants, and the government there has been attacked by media and opposition lawmakers for losing track of many who have been refused residency.

The Commission wants to halt ‘asylum shopping’, where illegal immigrants barred from one European state move to another. Brussels is proposing that a person banned from one country should automatically be barred from all 25 member states for a period of five years.