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Home Affairs Committee - Twelfth ReportUK Border Agency: Follow-up on Asylum Cases and E-Borders Programme
The published report was ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 23 March 2010.
1. In December 2009, we published two reports on aspects of the work of the UK Border Agency (UKBA): the first concentrated on the UKBA's efforts to clear the historic backlog of asylum cases, and the second commented on the e-Borders programme. In both, we expressed serious concerns about the programmes, noting our continuing worry that the backlog would not be cleared as quickly as would be desirable and our reservations about the legality and practicality of and timetable for aspects of the e-Borders programme.
2. We have subsequently received the Government's responses to these reports: we published the response to the first report in February and we append the response to the second to this Report. We have also received a quarterly update on asylum cases and other issues from Lin Homer, Chief Executive of UKBA; we have been given updates by most of those who gave evidence to our e-Borders inquiry together with a copy of a letter from the European Commission about that programme; and the Independent Chief Inspector of UKBA has published the findings from his first major inspection of the asylum system. We have taken further oral evidence from both UKBA and the Independent Chief Inspector of the UKBA, on 3 March 2010.
3. Normally, we would have published the Government's response on e-Borders, the transcript of the oral evidence from UKBA and the written evidence without comment, not least as we have no time to launch any further inquiries owing to the imminence of the general election. However, we were struck by the fact that, despite the assurances given by the Government in their responses to our original reports, the subsequent evidence we have received reinforces and, in some areas, increases the concerns we felt at the end of last year. None of these issues will be resolved within the next few months, and all will have a serious impact on thousands of people. We believe it appropriate that we should briefly draw them to the attention of our successor Committee in the next Parliament, and we urge our successors to seek an update on them as early as possible.