UK Raises the Stakes of Sanctuary-Like Policies



Despite the Conservative government’s promise to reduce net migration, the United Kingdom (UK) continues to turn a blind eye to illegal immigration, adopting principles much like the sanctuary policies employed in major cities and states across America. Since 2012, the number of convicted foreign criminals released to the streets has risen from under 4,000 to approximately 9,400 across the UK. In addition, there are a further 9,000 foreign national offenders (FNOs) currently imprisoned in Britain.

Despite the increasing numbers of FNOs, deportations have fallen significantly. Non-European Uunion (EU) foreign criminals make up the majority of those still residing in the country; however, they only accounted for one-third of overall removals in 2019. Approximately six FNOs a day are released from prison into the community instead of being deported. Those who are awaiting deportation are not detained but rather released to be “managed in the community”.

In addition, any attempt at removal is often thwarted. Judges and lawyers are often able to block efforts by the Home Office to deport foreign criminals through judicial reviews, last minute asylum and “human rights” claims, lack of proper documentation, and trivial discrepancies such as being denied access to a mobile phone while detained.

Much like the sanctuary policies in the US, these efforts attempt to paint criminal illegal aliens as victims of injustice with either no mention of their convictions, or a significant downplay of the crimes. Additionally, the UK continues to see FNOs reoffending after they are released back into their communities.

Now the UK is escalating the problem to a whole new level. In the past seven years, the UK released over 160 convicted terrorists from prison early and back into the communities whose safety they threaten. And despite the Terrorist Offenders (Restrictions of Early Release) Bill that was enacted in February 2020 to prevent the early release of terrorists from prison, another 100 convicted terrorists are set to be released in the next month before serving their full sentences. Among them are those with connections to ISIS and al-Qaeda, as well as independent actors. Meanwhile, the UK Home Office upgraded the terror threat in the UK to severe, or “highly likely” at the beginning of November. Eyes will be on the UK in coming months following these decisions, especially in light of recent deadly terrorist attacks in France and Austria.

Likewise, eyes are on the US right now as policy decisions made by the incoming administration will have significant impacts on security in this country. Sanctuary jurisdictions continue to release criminal aliens while open borders advocates try to block deportations and ICE enforcement actions across the nation. With talks of mass amnesty and widespread sanctuary policies, we may be headed in a similar direction as the UK. We must hold our law-makers accountable as we enter into a new administration in order to ensure the preservation of law and order in the United States, especially in reference to our immigration system.

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