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Blair sets asylum removal target

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Blair sets asylum removal target

Tony Blair is setting a new target on increasing the number of failed asylum seekers actually removed from the UK.

He admitted to the Times there were "genuine concerns" about the asylum system and the government must do more.

The prime minister's target states that by the end of 2005, the monthly rate of removals must exceed the number of applicants whose claims are unfounded.

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants said it was concerned genuine asylum seekers might lose out.

Writing in the Times, Mr Blair said: "I accept we need to do a great deal more.

Public faith

"It can make a mockery of our asylum system if those properly denied the right to stay simply flout this decision and remain.

"It is unfair to those who play by the rules and sends the wrong message to those who may try to come to this country without genuine cause.

"It undermines public faith in the system."

BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said almost 1,000 extra detention places would be rolled out to those awaiting deportation.

He said this would help to ensure that fewer of the almost 2,000 principal applicants refused asylum every month slipped the net. At present, only about 1,000 are removed each month.

Diplomatic moves will also encourage countries to speed up the provision of documents to returning asylum seekers.

And new laws will make it illegal from next week to arrive in the UK without identity documents.

Downing Street said the target was challenging but concerns were increasingly focused on abuse of the asylum system in terms of removals.

Our correspondent said the political risk had been minimised by setting the date for achieving the target after when the next election is expected.

Target missed

Mr Blair said efforts so far had concentrated on deterring unfounded applications for refugee status.

He said claims had fallen 70% from their peak in 2002, bringing them down to the level Labour inherited in 1997.

But Home Secretary David Blunkett last year failed to meet a target of expelling 30,000 failed asylum seekers, increasing the numbers removed to only 13,000.

Habib Rahman, chief executive of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, said he feared genuine asylum seekers could be wrongly returned to dangerous situations in their countries of origin.

He said: "We are increasingly concerned at the bias in government statements on abuses of the asylum system.

"While abuse must be tackled, we should not lose sight of the fact that an asylum system is in place because there are people genuinely fleeing persecution who require the UK's protection.

"The current emphasis on abuse is misleading and effectively demonises people who look to us for help because they are in danger and share our democratic values."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3661178.stm

"It can make a mockery of our asylum system if those properly denied the right to stay simply flout this decision and remain.

"It is unfair to those who play by the rules and sends the wrong message to those who may try to come to this country without genuine cause.

"It undermines public faith in the system."

You just noticed?! blink.gif The public have known for the last 4 years!!!

He said this would help to ensure that fewer of the almost 2,000 principal applicants refused asylum every month slipped the net. At present, only about 1,000 are removed each month.

What is the problem, one way ticket straight home under police escort, far cheaper that adding to an over stressed NHS, Welfare system, and housing the homeless of the world while 75,000 in the UK live on the streets!

Tony Blair is setting a new target on increasing the number of failed asylum seekers actually removed from the UK.

GOOD!

He admitted to the Times there were "genuine concerns" about the asylum system and the government must do more.

GOOD!

Habib Rahman, chief executive of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, said he feared genuine asylum seekers could be wrongly returned to dangerous situations in their countries of origin.

**** OFF!

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