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MPs lambast UK's border security body

By Tom Moseley

The quango in charge of the UK’s borders is “unable to fulfil its basic functions”, a report has found.

The powerful Home Affairs Select Committee slammed the failure to deport foreign criminals on time and highlighted the growing backlog of asylum cases, saying the shambles “tarnished” the reputation of the Westminster Government.

A fifth of foreign prisoners — some 1,060 criminals — who finished their jail terms in 2010/11 had still not been deported by November last year.

And six years after the border scandal in which 1,013 foreign nationals were released from prison without being considered for deportation, only 397 have been removed or deported.

The MPs also criticised the data given to it by the UK Border Agency (UKBA), branding it at best confusing and at worst misleading.

They said: “Six years is far too long for this situation not to be resolved and these cases should have been concluded long ago.

“The mistakes made which allowed the release of these prisoners should not be allowed to re-occur in any part of the UK Border Agency.”

Last year the UKBA became involved in a furious row with ministers over the relaxation of border checks, which led to the resignation of former chief Brodie Clark.

It adds: “Confusion over figures only risks suspicion that the agency is attempting to mislead Parliament and the public over its performance and effectiveness.”

Almost 20,000 asylum cases remain unresolved and some 120,000 immigration cases are being written off because the applicant can no longer be found.

The report added that the mothballing of £9.1m iris scanners at airports — just five years after they were introduced — “should not be repeated”.

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