THE troubled UK Border Agency faces a backlog of cases equivalent to the population of Newcastle, MPs warned today.
Missing foreign criminals, failed asylum seekers, illegal immigrants and others refusing to leave the country make up more than 275,000 cases which the agency still needs to deal with, the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee said.
Keith Vaz, the committee’s chairman, said the backlog, which will take years to clear, was unacceptable, adding that the agency seems to have “acquired its own Bermuda triangle”.
“It’s easy to get in, but near impossible to keep track of anyone, let alone get them out,” the Labour MP said.
“This is the first time that the committee has collated all the cases at the UK Border Agency that await resolution. This backlog is now equivalent to the entire population of Newcastle upon Tyne.”
On the backlog, the committee said it included at least 150,000 migrants who have been refused permission to stay in the UK but who may still be in the country illegally, 21,000 asylum cases, and 3,900 foreign offenders living in the community.
A further 57 foreign criminals who were released in 2006 without being considered for deportation have not yet been traced.
A Home Office spokesman said: “This report highlights the improvements we have made to tackle the huge backlog of cases we inherited. Over 2,000 overstayers have been removed following targeted enforcement activity, foreign national offenders are being removed more quickly and we are performing well against visa processing targets.”
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