Home Office considering fitting migrants with electronic tags

The Home Office is considering fitting asylum seekers arriving in the UK via unauthorised means with electronic tags, it has been reported.

The Times said officials are mulling it as a way to prevent migrants who cannot be housed in limited detention sites from absconding.

The Illegal Migration Act places a legal duty on the Government to detain and remove those arriving in the UK illegally, either to Rwanda or another “safe” third country.

However, as spaces in Home Office accommodation are in short supply, officials have been tasked with a “deep dive” into alternatives, according to the newspaper.

While the preferred solution is to increase the number of detention places, electronic tagging has been mooted, as has cutting off financial allowances to someone who fails to report regularly to the Home Office, the Times cited a source from the department as saying.

The source reportedly told the paper: “Tagging has always been something that the Home Office has been keen on and is the preferred option to withdrawing financial support, which would be legally difficult as migrants would be at risk of being left destitute.”

TalkTV's Alex Phillips said the use of electronic tags was justified due to security and identification issues.

She said: "If someone comes into the country illegally they can't be put up in a hotel because there's no way of checking where they are and what they're doing.

"They might fall through the cracks and disappear into the system. Tagging is the only way we can handle it."

Political commentator Matthew Laza said: “My prediction is that not a single migrant will be tagged.

“I’m sure the police will say they haven’t got the resources to chase people around the country, so where’s this army of people to enforce it?

"There’s nothing in it - it’s just another headline and destroying any confidence in the system."

Asked whether tagging is under consideration, a source close to Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: “We already do it.”

Home Office data this week showed Channel crossings topped 19,000 for the year so far, despite Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s pledge that he will “stop the boats”.

The asylum backlog has soared to a record high, with more than 175,000 people waiting for an initial decision on an asylum application at the end of June, with the bill for the taxpayer almost doubling in a year to nearly £4 billion.

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