C: Kipras Streimikis via Unsplash

3,254 undocumented migrants enter State in first 8 months of 2022

3,254 people arrived in the state without documentation in the first eight months of this year, figures obtained by TD Mattie McGrath have revealed.

Speaking today, Deputy McGrath said the Minister for Justice had provided the figures this morning in response to the Independent TD’s Parliamentary Question. 

“It is important to note that these passengers had presented documents at their point of departure but were no longer in possession of those documents when they reached the immigration desks at Dublin airport,” Deputy McGrath said in a statement. 

“It is time we got serious about those arriving here without documentation and bogus claims for asylum particularly when our services are under such strain,” he said in response to the figures obtained today.

The Tipperary TD had asked Minister for Justice Helen McEntee for her views on the number of people seeking international protection in the state, and if she would issue a statement on the matter. The question asked Minister McEntee what plans she had to “pause or cap the numbers of those seeking international protection in the State given we have reached full capaciryt and can no onger accommodate anu further arrivals”.

He also asked the Minister whether she had concerns about the pressures being placed on state services due to the “huge increase in those seeking international protection”, and if there are at present any plans to “return any persons arriving in the state without identification to their country of origin”.

He further asked the Minister to indicate the number of people arriving in the state without a passport or official identification.

In response, Justice Minister Helen McEntee said that the State is required to examine applications, which she said is in “accordance with Ireland’s obligations under international and EU asylum law, which “does not allow any Member State to place a cap” on the number who apply for international protection.

“The State is required to examine applications for international protection by anyone who is at the borders of the State or is in the State and indicates they wish to make an application. This is in accordance with our obligations under international and EU asylum law, which does not allow any Member State to place a cap on the numbers of persons who may apply for international protection,” Minister McEntee said in a statement in response to the PQ, adding:

“Immigration officials conduct passport checks on arrival to ensure passengers are properly documented in accordance with Section 11 of the Immigration Act 2004. If a person indicates or is identified as being in need of international protection, they are admitted to the international protection process.

Outlining the figures, she stated:

“I can inform the Deputy that, in the first eight months of this year, 3,254 people arrived undocumented in Dublin airport.  While these passengers had presented documents at their point of departure, they were no longer in possession of those documents when they reached the immigration desks at Dublin airport.  Figures are currently available only for Dublin Airport”.

She said that the factors which may be behind the huge increase in international protection applications will now be examined, adding:

“The Department is examining the factors which may have contributed to the significant increase in international protection applications this year. The Department will continue to take all necessary steps to manage the international protection process efficiently and effectively, as part of the broader whole-of-Government response, while ensuring the integrity of the immigration system is maintained. 

“This includes resuming normal pre-pandemic immigration arrangements, such as the enforcement of deportation orders for unsuccessful applications, following fair procedure and allowing for all available avenues for appeal. An accelerated decision-making process for applicants from Safe Countries of Origin is also being introduced.  

“If a person who has applied for international protection in the State is found to be already benefitting from international protection granted by another EU Member State, the application will be deemed inadmissible in accordance with the International Protection Act 2015.

“In addition, on 18 July, the Government agreed to temporarily suspend Ireland’s participation in the Council of Europe Agreement for the Abolition of Visas for Refugees. The temporary suspension of the Council of Europe Agreement on the Abolition of Visas for Refugee came into operation from noon on 19 July 2022. It is too early to determine the impact of the suspension on application numbers.  However, this is being closely monitored by my Department.

“Responsibility for the accommodation system and material supports for international protection applicants are a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth”.

In August of this year, Dr Matt Treacy wrote about how three quarters of people who arrive in Ireland with no passport are allowed to stay. He was referring to figures released to a member of the public by the Department of Justice on foot of a Freedom of Information request which showed that to the end of July 2022, over 76% of those who were permitted to claim asylum in Ireland had no passport or other documentation to prove where they had come from.

“So if they get off the plane in Ireland without that identifying documentation, they’ve destroyed it for a reason. They should be sent home. 

“It is not normal practise to simply allow a person without documentation into your country, for a myriad of reasons, including the security of your citizens,” Dr Treacy wrote in an article this month revisiting the issue after a number of media outlets covered reports that asylum seekers at Dublin airport had lost or were ripping up travel documents”

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