C: Gript

New figures show a tiny percentage of Deportation Orders for illegal immigration are carried out

A reply to a Freedom of Information request from a member of the public shows the extremely small numbers of deportation orders that are carried out when those presented with an order to leave refuse to comply.  

Of a total of 4,631 deportation orders signed by the Minister for Justice between 2018 and 2022, just 314 – 6.78% – were actually enforced by the state on people who refused to leave. 

The numbers provided are less than the overall figures for the number of deportations which have been published previously, and the table above seems to refer only to deportations that necessitated the forceful removal of the person from the jurisdiction, and excludes those who were served with a deportation order but left voluntarily. 

Statistics released last year put the number of deportations at 298 for 2019, and there were supposedly no deportations carried out in 2020 or 2021 due to Covid restrictions although a small number of people deemed to be threats to national security were sent home. There were 163 deportation orders carried out in 2018. 

What is apparent is that the total number of deportations, whether voluntary or needing to be carried out by the Gardaí, constitute a small number of the orders signed. If you are deported, you have only have around a one in ten chance of actually having to leave. It is around the same odds as Paddy Power will give you for Dublin to win the Leinster hurling championship. That small, and that unlikely.

One of the reasons for this is that people who are served with a deportation order simply disappear from view, or else begin a long process of appeals. Most of that, of course  is no longer even necessary as if all else fails, an illegal immigrant can simply apply to be included in the amnesty introduced in 2021 by former Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee.

A response to a Dáil question to McEntee from November 2022 illustrates just how long drawn out the appeals process can be, and the many options that existed even prior to the strange decision to introduce an amnesty, to avoid complying with a deportation order. 

When asked by Fine Gael colleague Bernard Durkan, who appears to spent an inordinate amount of time asking questions about migrants, about someone who had been served with a deportation order, the Minister provided details that are reminiscent of Charles Dickens’ comical account of the proceedings of the Court of Chancery in Bleak House. The Court of Chancery indeed. 

The deportation order that was the subject of the Dáil question had been served on March 11, 2005. The person who was supposed to be deported managed then to stay here for another 14 years before the appeals process was apparently exhausted and the deportation order upheld on April 4, 2019. 

That would be the end of your boy you would imagine. But you would be mistaken because the Minister was happy to inform the Deputy for Kildare North that while the person in question appeared to have vanished from their files, that he or she could still apply to the Repatriation Unit of the Department of Justice for the order to be revoked. 

There are a number of high profile racial activists who have been happily lecturing us all on our moral and ethical flaws for a similar period while under deportation orders, some of which may have been revoked, some of which seemingly have not been but nonetheless they remain among us, lecturing us on how badly we treat them.

Not that any of that legal stuff matters a fart in a bandbox if you have a hard enough neck and the right connections. 

When those who are deported do leave, either under their own steam, or delivered to the airport by the Gardaí, the costs are mind boggling. Between 2018 and 2021 the Department of Justice spent almost €5,000,000 on expenses associated with deportation that involved external agencies. So the figure is separate entirely from whatever costs are borne by the Department itself or by the Gardaí –  not to mention the accumulated costs of years of housing and feeding and jailing and otherwise providing for illegal immigrants for years. 

The main beneficiary of this external assistance has been the United Nations International Office of Migration (IOM) here for the provision of ‘Repatriation Expert Advice.’  The IOM received €4,603,894.40  over those four years. The Belgian Ministry of Defence was paid €171,385.70 for ‘deportation travel costs’ in 2020, and the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHCR) got a cheque for €196,798 in 2018. 

If the overall figures for both voluntary and forced deportations are taken together the number of orders executed between 2018 and 2021 was 509 (another figure I have seen puts the number at just over 600). The total external cost in helping those people return to their home places was €4,972,078.10.  That works out at an average of almost €10,000 for each person who was in the country illegally and who was then eventually sent home.  

Gript reached out to both the Repatriation Unit of the Department of Justice, and to the International Office of Migration with a number of questions related to the costs and numbers of those assisted, but as of time of publication we had received no replies.

It can certainly be said, however, and without fear of contradiction that illegal immigration is enriching for some. 


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