Government denies losing track of likely Rwanda deportees

Most of the asylum seekers initially earmarked for deportation to Rwanda cannot be immediately located, the Home Office has admitted. Home Office documents show that of 5,700 asylum seekers identified in the initial cohort, the government had lost contact with 3,557.

Only “2,143 continue to report to the Home Office and can be located for detention”, the documents say. A government source denied the group were missing.

They faced looser reporting restrictions and are not being accommodated in government facilities, the source said, insisting the Home Office could contact everyone in scope for removal to Rwanda if needed.Many asylum seekers do not stay in Home Office accommodation and there are different ways they must report to the Home Office.

Some have to do so in person while others can report digitally and face less strict requirements.

A government source admitted it was possible some could abscond before they were detained. An ex-border force chief said asylum seekers had performed a “disappearing act” now they faced deportation.

Kevin Saunders, former chief immigration officer at Border Force from 2001 to 2016, said he was not surprised “in the slightest” the Home Office had lost contact with asylum seekers.Mr Saunders told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme asylum seekers had “ignored” the Rwanda plan until now as they were told it would never happen.

He accused the Home Office of “telling porkies” by claiming the asylum seekers are not missing.

But the fact asylum seekers were “disappearing already” shows the Rwanda scheme is working as a deterrent, he added.She told Sky News: “Law enforcement have a variety of measures to find people, they will be found and they will be removed.

“We want the message to go out loud and clear that if somebody doesn’t report as they should do, they shouldn’t think that they’ll get away with it.”

Labour’s shadow immigration minister Stephen Kinnock said: “This latest farce exposes the total lack of grip the Conservatives have over the asylum system and the chaos at the heart of their Rwanda policy.

“The prime minister promised to detain and remove all those who crossed the Channel. Now he can’t even locate those intended for removal. How can the Conservative Home Office keep losing so many people

Source: BBC

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