BUNGLING BORDER AGENCY IS ‘LOSING’ 333 MIGRANTS A DAY
The UK Border Agency database now has the names of 124,000 foreigners who cannot be traced
Wednesday September 14,2011
By Anil Dawar
THE chaos inside the UK Border Agency was laid bare yesterday when it emerged that the number of illegal immigrants and asylum seekers who vanish without trace is growing by 333 a day.
At least 50,000 files have been added to the “archive” since April, admitted Jonathan Sedgwick, acting head of the agency.
The database now has the names of 124,000 foreigners who cannot be traced.
Mr Sedgwick, who earns £104,000 a year, revealed the figures when quizzed by MPs about clearing a backlog of up to 450,000 asylum applications, some dating back to the mid-Nineties. When he appeared before the Home Affairs Committee in April there were 74,500 names on the archive.
Yesterday Mr Sedgwick said that figure had grown to 98,000. A further 26,000 cases on the archive involve illegal immigrants.
Critics said the figures supported claims that the agency had given a backdoor amnesty in order to clear the backlog. Tory MP Priti Patel called the figures “alarming beyond all proportion”. She said: “It makes a mockery of our border controls.
The number of illegal immigrants and asylum seekers who vanish without trace is growing by 333 a day
“It shows the problems the UKBA and the previous government have had grasping the issue. It is a message to this government that it has to deal with the problem urgently.”
Committee chairman Labour MP Keith Vaz, who had called the April figure “indefensible” was left reeling by the latest admission. He said: “It is unsatisfactory that the controlled archive, which has been invented by the UKBA to put cases where they can’t find people, has now increased. It is a very large figure and it is unacceptable.”
Previously there was uproar when it emerged that of the 450,000 backlog, just 36,270 cases resulted in deportations.
The UKBA said last night: “We are improving the system, clearing the backlog, bringing down costs and resolving cases more quickly.”