Irish authorities are ramping up immediate checks on new arrivals as they disembark from flights at Dublin Airport after a concerning rise in the number of people reaching the airport’s immigration control without travel documents.
The resumption of checks at the steps of aircraft has been reactivated by Minister for Justice Simon Harris over fears of asylum seekers destroying their passports and other travel documentation that can identify them before proceeding to immigration control where they are subsequently claiming asylum.
Without evidence, immigration officials have no way of corroborating an individual’s claim that they are in fact a genuine asylum seeker fleeing a war-torn nation or at risk of persecution.
“Doorstep operations” will now be conducted biweekly by the Garda National Immigration Bureau, according to confidential government documents seen by the Irish Times newspaper.
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Official figures show that 40 percent of new arrivals who applied for international protection in Ireland last year had either lost or destroyed their travel documents between taking off and arriving at immigration control.
This practice was highlighted by Hermann Kelly, leader of the right-wing populist Irish Freedom party, back in November last year.
“It is a huge security risk because 40 percent (…) say that between getting on the plane and getting off in Dublin that they have lost their passport, but they can all turn up at the customs kiosk and say ‘Asylum,'” Kelly told U.K. conservative broadcaster Nigel Farage on GB News.
“The minister, Roderic O’Gorman, has basically sent out search parties looking for asylum claimants around the world, telling them they can all get a free house, free access to housing, free healthcare, free education, four months after they’ve got approval for their asylum application,” he added.
A record number of 13,651 asylum applications were made in Ireland last year, according to government data. This is six times higher than the previous year, while immigration into Ireland also hit a 15-year high in 2022.
The confidential document seen by the Irish Times also references a dramatic rise in the number of asylum applications originating from safe countries of origin, including Georgia and Albania.