Morton Hall deported just 9% of its detainees in its first five months.
23 January 2012
UK immigration process crippled by human rights claims
Despite UK Immigration Minister Damian Green's promise of a tough new stance on immigration, recent figures showing just 9% of detainees at one of the UK's 13 detention centres having been deported in its first five months have been blamed on human rights claims.
Morton Hall, a former women's prison in Lincolnshire, was opened in 2011 after a £6 million refurbishment and was intended to house illegal immigrants while they awaited either a UK visa or deportation.
When Mr Green opened the centre, he declared that a "tough system of enforcement and removal is one of the cornerstones of our reformed asylum system".
Now however, figures obtained by Conservative MP Priti Patel show that just 39 of the 456 people at Morton Hall were deported in the five months after its opening, with many efforts to deport illegal immigrants being thwarted by detainees using the right to family life clause in the Human Rights Act.
These recent figures have brought to light the endemic exploitation of the current UK immigration system by illegal immigrants, something Ms Patel has been quick to blame on the previous government.
"The last Labour government left a horrendous mess in the immigration system and ministers in the Home Office today must change the law to remove illegal immigrants from Brain and protect taxpayers from these outrageous costs."
Morton Hall boasts extensive gardens with classically themed statues as well as badminton courts, football pitches, a gym, a library and even a salon; so far the centre has cost nearly £17 million.
A spokesperson for the Home Office was quick to highlight a further 116 detainees that had also left the centre, though it could not confirm whether these had left the country or not.
"Detaining and removing foreign criminals who flout the rules is vital to protecting the public and to safeguarding the economy by controlling immigration" said the spokesperson.
"It is not acceptable that foreign offenders are winning more than 60% of allowed appeals to stay under the right to a family life. We will shortly be changing the immigration rules to reflect the public interest in seeing the removal from the UK of those who should be removed."
The UK Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy specialising in helping people prepare for their UK Ancestry Visa application.