Britain to start tagging asylum seekers with GPS trackers

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British ohAuthorities will begin placing electronic monitoring devices on some asylum seekers arriving in the country, under a new year-long program announced this week.

The 12-month pilot program will test whether equipping immigrants with GPS trackers will allow the government to maintain regular contact with those facing deportation, as well as more accurately track breaches of curfew and other rules . The policy comes in response to an influx of illegal immigration into Britain, posing a “significant challenge” to officials, the government has said.

“There has been an unprecedented growth in irregular migration through unnecessary and dangerous routes, to the point that it poses a significant challenge to the operation of effective immigration control,” the policy reads. “Those arriving via these routes are a relatively unknown cohort to the Home Office, and we don’t know much about their individual circumstances or the routes they took to get to the UK.”

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The policy will target those trying to enter the country via the English Channel, a route which authorities say is dangerous. More than 10,000 immigrants have entered Britain through the canal so far this year, and at least 27 have died in an incident last November.

The program would target asylum seekers who are released on bail from detention centers to ensure that, for those who breach their contract, the government can “more effectively re-establish contact…or locate them for deportation or detention if that is appropriate in their case”.

The program is also likely to mark those who have challenged being sent to Rwanda while they wait for the country to process their asylum claim, which many have challenged as “illegal on multiple grounds”. A court ordered the first flight carrying asylum seekers to Rwanda, but it was stopped just before departure.

British officials have urged migrants to seek “safe and legal” alternatives, noting that many are smuggled into the country through dangerous routes.

“Smugglers often tell migrants that traveling to the UK will be safe and easy. In reality, travel exposes people to serious risk of injury, abuse and exploitation. The journey is not only expensive, but dangerous,” the government said. “Don’t take the risk. Choose a safe and legal alternative.

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Asylum seekers who are marked will have to report regularly to immigration or police centers for checks. It is unclear how many asylum seekers will be marked under the pilot scheme, but guidelines suggest it will start marking adults who face deportation and exempt some pregnant women and children in its early stages.

There were 135,912 refugees, 83,489 pending asylum claims and 3,968 stateless people in the UK as of mid-2021, according to the UN Human Rights Council.

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