What Foreign Criminal Crackdown? 30 Dodge Deportation Each Week: Number Who Are Released from Prison but Not Kicked Out up by a Fifth in a Year
James Slack, Daily Mail (London), March 24, 2014
Almost 4,200 foreign rapists, killers and other criminals who should have been kicked out of the UK are walking the streets after a surge in failed deportation cases.
The number of overseas convicts who are being released from jail without being deported has soared by a fifth in the past year, despite a series of promises by ministers.
More than 30 are walking out of jail and into the community every week.
Some 1,328 former inmates have been fighting deportation for at least six years. In many cases, they are able to thwart their removal by using the Human Rights Act, including article 8, the right to a family life.
MPs said people were being put in peril by the failure to get rid of dangerous foreign convicts.
The news will increase pressure on David Cameron to reform the Act, which was introduced by Labour, or scrap it.
James Clappison, a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said ministers must ‘remove obstacles’ to deportation, adding: ‘There may be a need for radical action. The public want them to be returned, not have them hanging around for ever.’
Tory MP Dominic Raab, who has campaigned for tougher laws, said: ‘It’s bad enough foreign criminals using spurious human rights grounds to defeat deportation controls, but the growing number being released on to the streets increases the risk to the public.’
Figures released to MPs show that between July and September 2013, 395 foreign former prisoners eligible for deportation were freed into the community. Attempts were being made to boot out almost 95 per cent, but most were thwarted by ‘legal issues’. In the same period in 2012, 340 convicts from overseas were freed.
There were 265 failed removal attempts between July and September 2013, up from 165 a year earlier. Cases are halted when an appeal is lodged, commonly on human rights grounds.
In recent months, officials have also released ten foreign criminals without even considering them for deportation.
It was a failure to make checks on whether 1,000 overseas inmates should at least be considered for removal that led to the departure of Charles Clarke as Home Secretary in 2006.
More than two years ago, Home Secretary Theresa May issued instructions telling the courts that overseas convicts should normally be deported regardless of their family circumstances. But immigration judges are defying her, claiming the guidance did not carry the same weight as the Human Rights Act.
She is now changing the law to state that article 8 should no longer normally bar deportation.
Some Tory MPs say her proposals still leave too much discretion in the hands of the courts, which could block deportation if a criminal can prove a ‘genuine and subsisting’ relationship with a partner or child.
Mr Raab failed this year to have an amendment adopted that would have made the new law significantly tougher. It was defeated by 241 votes to 97 after Tory ministers abstained.