An interesting report this morning from TheJournal.ie:

THE NUMBER OF people deported from Ireland last year who were here illegally or who had failed in their asylum application rose significantly to 293.

That was almost as many deportations as had taken place in the previous two years, when 140 (2017) and 163 (2018) people were removed from the country.

That’s a year on year increase of 79%. Though interestingly, those figures don’t tell the full story, because they only refer to the removal of people who had already made it into the country. If you look at the wider figure – the number of people deported combined with the number who were refused entry at our ports and airports, it’s much higher. In fact, per the Irish Times in September last year, the number in 2018 was much higher:

“More than 5,000 people were deported from the State last year, the vast majority turned away at ports of entry, according to new immigration statistics.

Some 95 per cent of people deported from the country were refused “permission to land” at ports of entry by immigration officials. This cohort were held at ports for a period of time before they were deported back to the country whence they had travelled to Ireland.

Last year Ireland processed 140,533 visa applications, a 12 per cent increase on the previous year, according to the Department of Justice’s 2018 annual report on immigration.

Some 121,000 of the visa applications were granted by officials, according to the statistics.”

It’s reasonable to assume that the number, including those turned away at the borders, is actually well in excess of 5,000 again for 2019.

According to the Central Statistics Office, the net inward migration of migrants into Ireland in the year ending April 2009 (no, I don’t know why the year ends in April, either) was 33,800. If you add those rejected at the borders or deported to those numbers, you arrive at a figure of something like 13% of all potential migrants being turned away, or deported, in a given year.

But if you look at deportations solely as a percentage of those coming into the country, you arrive at a figure of 0.008% of people being deported. So, depending on which figures you use, you could make a case that Ireland’s border policy is relatively strict, or absurdly lenient. This is one of the reasons that immigration and deportation proves so controversial.

The other factor here, of course, is that we don’t know exactly how many deportation attempts fail. The figures relate to those who were, as the Journal notes, “removed” from the country. They do not include those who had their asylum applications rejected last year, but who remain here anyway pending appeal, or because the state has no interest in physically removing them.

Finally, it’s worth noting that there was no policy shift that explains the large increase in numbers – so what could explain it?

It’s likely that, in fact, there is a delay of several years – maybe even half a decade – between the migration statistics and the deportation statistics. Remember that in 2012 and 2013 there were less than 1,000 applications for asylum into Ireland – but that in 2015, this number surged to over 3,300. With more applications, it is logical that there would be more rejections – but these rejections take some time to feed through the system. What we’re probably seeing in the deportation numbers is a delayed but logical consequence of the 2015 surge in applications.

Either way, if you make it as far as Ireland, and apply, you’re far more likely to be granted asylum than you are anywhere else in Europe:

The Irish authorities had the lowest rate of refusal to applications from asylum seekers of any of the EU’s 28 member states last year.

Only 15% of first-time decisions on asylum applications in Ireland were rejected, compared to an EU average of 63%.

With a comparable success rate for applications at that level, it really is a wonder we don’t get more applications than the 3,500 or so made last year.