People who have committed crimes who were not born in this country should be deported.
It stands to reason that foreign nationals that have been convicted of crimes should be deported to there home countries. Those that break the laws of our country forfeit the right to be a part of our society. However, often the individual circumstances mean that deportation is not a simple matter. Many people that seek asylum in Britian do so because they have been persecuted in they’re on country and going back there own countries represents a real danger to their safety.
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Foreign criminals become a financial drain on our society
Those that are not British nationals and are convicted of breaking our laws, present a financial drain on our society unless they are deported. A report in The Daily Telegraph states that one in three detainees in immigrations centres have been convicted of a crime, yet have not been deported. To house each criminal for a year in an immigration centre cost more than paying for a criminal in the prison system, some £10,000 pounds more a year in fact, with the average cost for housing a foreign criminal being £47,000 a year, and it is estimated that delaying deportation is costing the tax payer £59 million a year[[ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/immigration/7149720/Failure-to-deport-foreign-criminals-costs-60m-a-year.html%5D%5D. Gordon Brown has reneged on his promise that all foreign criminals will be deported after serving their sentences, and this broken promise is costing our tax payer dearly.
At the first level, an argument on the costs of something is more a question of whether that cost is justified or not. Nothing in that argument really says WHY they should be detained, other than financial cost.
At the second level, such costs can be mitigated and made more reasonable. An immigration centre is effectively a place to put someone you might want to deport for a variety of reasons. However, an accused criminal (or an under trial) probably doesn't need to have that much money spent on him. They can be put in normal prison, just like the others accused of criminal actions - in fact, why should they be treated any better?
Foreign criminals pose a threat to the safety of UK citizens
Currently, human rights legislation prevents deportation of foreign criminals. Last year, immigration minister conceded that his biggest fear would be "if Osama Bin Laden was arrested in London and we found that we were not able to deport him". That a minister could make a statement regarding our security measures is frankly shocking.
At least 4,000 foreign criminals convicted every year of offences such as theft, burglary, benefit fraud and drug dealing are allowed to remain in the UK after they are released from jail [[http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article6211514.ece]].
Our security measures are not just geared towards criminals of foreign citizenship - our security measures are meant to keep us safe from all criminal activities. Even our criminals, after doing their time, are allowed to walk free - how can we assume/presume that foreign citizens must suffer a greater punishment of not only being jailed but then deported? Are we presuming here that they will commit the crime again? Isn't that unfair and unjustifiable?
We need to set an example. A large percentage of the crimes in the UK are committed by foreigners.
People who commit crime in the UK who were born overseas should be deported because we need to send out a message that such behaviour will not be tolerated. This is even more crucial when we consider the large portion of crimes in the UK that are committed by foreigners. For example, in 2007 it was found that one in five crimes in London were committed by a foreign national. The same survey found that a third of all sex offences and a half of all frauds were committed by non-British citizens[[http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1563890/Foreigners-commit-fifth-of-crime-in-London.html]].
And these shocking figures aren't solely representative of the capital alone. In 2008, figures from 10 police forces across England and Wales revealed a 120 percent rise in the number of non-Britons arrested, charged or convicted over the previous five years.[[http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/lawandorder/4952904/Crime-by-foreigners-doubles-in-five-years.html]]
Whilst we should welcome law-abiding people to the UK, it is not acceptable for this country to become an easy option for foreign criminals. Deporting foreign nationals for criminal behaviour is the very least that we can do to discourage such acts.
The prospect of being deported will not, as is suggested here, serve as a disincentive to those foreign nationals committing crime within the UK. A strong, harsh punishment for all violent crimes would serve as a far more effective disincentive to commit crime. The fact of the matter is that people coming from a different cultural context into the United Kingdom have to be made aware of the United Kingdom's laws, and not just deported every time they break the law. Although their actions might not be seen as crimes where they come from, mere deportation would rob the United Kingdom of the opportunity of punishing the wrongdoer instead of just getting rid of the problem and effectively sweeping it out of its own borders.
Mere suspicion does not justify exposing someone to risk of torture
Whilst deportation of foreign criminals can be seen as a good idea in principle, it could leave people convicted of only minor crimes open to the severe persecution that they had sought to escape by coming to the UK. The Home Office should regard it as its duty to ensure that people viable for deportation will not face a clear and significant danger upon returning to their homeland.
Even if it were to be accepted that people who plot violence should be deported notwithstanding horrific consequences, in many of the cases before the British courts there is no hard evidence of involvement in terrorism. Nicola Duckworth, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director of the Human Rights group, Amnesty International, argues that it is simply ‘not acceptable to use suspicion of involvement in terrorism to justify sending someone to face a real risk of torture or other serious violations of their rights’. [[http://features.csmonitor.com/globalnews/2009/02/18/britain-to-deport-suspected-terrorist-abu-qatada/]].
Without serious in-depth investigation and a complete fair trial in Britain, we cannot be sure that we are dealing with criminals or innocents. In some situations, once an individual is being investigated for terrorist ties, even if there is no sufficient evidence of this, the suspect could be deported to face torture on other grounds that have nothing to do with the original terror claims.
The site of the crime
Foreign criminals are often people living in England who have committed a crime while in England, against English citizens, breaking English law. In such situations, it would be fitting that these individuals are punished according to English law and standards, not in some foreign land - justice must be seen to be done for the victims and their families, which may or may not happen (or may happen in a disproportionate fashion) which would erode faith in the system.
Furthermore, a crime and the quantum of punishment attached to it are the subject of the social dynamic within a society. If a crime is committed in England, it ought to be judged in terms of how it was perceived and what effect it had in England, for which it is best suited that the crime be tried, considered, weighed, judged and punished within England itself.
A one-size-fits-all strategy of just deporting them or positing that they are not fit to be a part of 'our society' implies that everyone committing the crime (whether citizen or not) ought to be deported, which is absurd. The nature of punishment within the laws of our country envisage the removal of the criminal element of society and rehabilitation to prevent repeat occurrences - an action such as the one proposed would belie and fail to examine the nature of the crime committed.
The Government are ignoring the real issue of torture
Just because torture is something that we do not see or experience in Britain, it is still very much alive as a form of punishment in other countries. A clear example of the British government's failure to understand this issue came with last year's deportation of radical cleric Abu Qatada back to Jordan. Whilst Qatada's involvement with Al Qaeda is completely unjustifiable, to send someone back to a nation where they will face despicable torture and unfair trial is simply not acceptable. Qatada’s lawyer, Gareth Peirce, condemned the House of Lord’s decision to deport his client as a ‘backwards step’ in Britain’s willingness to confront torture and stated that the judgment will pour a dose of cold water on our belief that we have indeed advanced in our willingness to confront the ugly issue of the use of torture’.[[http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/smith-signs-deportation-order-for-abu-qatada-1625167.html]] If the Court had actually given the risk of torture the weight it deserved then it would have been unthinkable to deport an individual knowing what they would face on their arrival.
What do you think?