990 overseas national prisoners also removed
Two wings of immigration removal centre opened
3rd August 2010: The Home Office said more than 1,900 failed asylum-seekers and more than 990 foreign national prisoners have been removed since the alliance took office in May.
The assertion came soon after two new wings of Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre were opened, with the UK Border Agency intensifying enforcement movement across the country for cracking down on illegal activity and organised immigration crime.
A UK-wide clean up on illegal working, bogus colleges, sham marriages, and organised immigration crime came to completion this week with the start of new divisions. The new high security accommodation, ready for use, will house 364 of the UK Border Agency’s most difficult detainees, significantly enhancing the new Government’s ability to remove foreign criminals from the UK.
Immigration Minister Damian Green said that he was pleased to open the new divisions at Harmondsworth, making it Europe’s largest detention centre and a welcome addition to the UK Border Agency’s estate.
The full capacity building will provide 364 new bed spaces, increasing the capacity to remove people with no right to stay in the UK. The two wings were rebuilt after being burnt down in 2006 by detainees.
The centre was for 600 of the “most challenging” detainees, mostly foreign criminals who have committed serious offences and are awaiting deportation
The beds will be used for some of the most taxing captives the UK Border Agency held. The vast majority of the captives are former prisoners who have committed serious offences.
Green asserted that he believed foreign criminals should be sent home at the earliest opportunity and this was taken another step in that direction.
The first detainees were accepted earlier this month, and the existing plan was that it would take roughly seven to eight weeks to have the new space fully occupied.
Already under the new Government, there have been more than 1900 failed asylum seekers and more than 990 overseas national prisoners removed from the UK.
After opening the new wings, the Minister visited Heathrow Terminal to observe the frontline checks in place at the border, including anti-forgery tools and drug finding scanners. On visiting Britain’s busiest airport, he added that keeping Britain’s border secure was a priority for this government.
He further asserted that this was the reason it was crucial to have vigilant border staff using the latest technology in their fight against the people traffickers, drug smugglers and illegal immigrants.
During his visit, Green met frontline UK Border Agency staff. The staff gave a demonstration through detection dogs and the used of latest technology to search bags for hidden, smuggled material.