A rise in deportations in Ireland has been described as “very concerning”, with asylum seekers also saying they are confused about a new refugee application process which has been introduced.
The State enforced 428 deportation orders in 2016, a rise from the 251 people deported in 2015.
The International Protection Act 2015, which came into effect on 31 December 2016, bolsters the State’s power to enforce deportation orders. It gives authorities powers to arrest people who have been issued deportation orders without a warrant.
The Department of Justice denied there has been any official policy to crack down on or toughen Ireland’s asylum system.
A spokesperson said “a decision to deport a person is never taken lightly. Only persons who are illegally present in the state fall within the scope to be considered for deportation”.
A spokesperson for the Department of Justice outlined: “The process leading to deportation is extensive with many avenues of appeal, including judicial review in the High Court, open to persons subject to deportation orders”.
The 428 deportation orders that were enforced by the State in 2016 do not take into account those who were refused permission “to land” in Ireland.
Every year thousands of people who declare at Irish ports or points of entry without visas are “refused leave to land” and sent back to the country they travelled from. Last year over 4,000 were detained at Irish ports or airports and refused entry.
In a PQ answered this week, Minister Frances Fitzgerald said that the total number of persons refused leave to land at approved ports of entry to the State in 2016 was 4,127.
Of these, the top five nationalities were:
- Brazilian – 533
- Albanian – 446
- South African – 329
- United States – 266
- Pakistan – 180.
Justice Department figures show 170 non-nationals from Iraq, Syria, Libya, Iran and Eritrea were refused entry to Ireland in 2015.
The Department of Justice’s press office stated that out of the total 4,000 refused entry into Ireland in 2016, 354 people were “subsequently admitted to pursue a protection application having been initially refused leave to land”.
The vast majority of refusals relate to matters such as the lack of a visa, come from countries where International Protection is not an issue, or are refused because there is evidence that they are seeking to exploit the Common Travel Area to get to the UK.