Asylum Seekers: Missing from Registered Address Debate

Full Debate: Read Full Debate
Thursday 2nd May 2024

(2 months, 3 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Watch Debate
Lord Gascoigne Portrait Lord Gascoigne (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

As the PM said, the comments from Irish politicians show that illegal migration is a global challenge, and that is why multiple countries are talking about third-country partnerships, as this House passed only the other day. We believe that they will follow where the UK has led. The Prime Minister said yesterday that we cannot go about cherry-picking any of our international agreements. The Secretary of State is seeking urgent clarification that there will be no disruption or police checkpoints at or near the border. I can confirm that the UK has no legal obligation to accept returns of illegal migrants from Ireland. It is no surprise that our robust approach to illegal migration is already providing a deterrent.

Lord Swire Portrait Lord Swire (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - -

My Lords, what is no surprise, or should certainly come as no surprise, is that the Home Office has absolutely no idea where these people are. Worse than that, the Home Office has absolutely no idea where the alleged hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people who are not in this country officially are either. Are we not at the point now that we need to seriously look once again at the issue of ID cards?

Lord Gascoigne Portrait Lord Gascoigne (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

Much as I am loath to do this, I have to disagree with my noble friend’s broad point. In the scheme that he referred to, an initial cohort of suitable cases, around 2,000 people, were identified for removal and placed on immigration bail with strict reporting conditions. For those outside the group, there is still a wide range of tools, some of which I discussed earlier, to maintain contact with them. This includes face-to-face and digital reporting, and it is worth making the point that many individuals are residing in Home Office accommodation. But it is also worth making the point that compliance for this cohort has remained high, and therefore we are confident of the whereabouts once the decision to detain is made.