Theresa May's tough policy of hitting airlines in the pocket for flying illegal immigrants into the country is in total disarray following a court ruling. Airlines have shelled out millions in fines since 1999 after failing to spot forged documents before bogus travellers arrive at UK passport control. With each immigrant who makes it through the net costing airlines £2,000, budget carrier, Ryanair, by itself pays out about £400,000-a-year in penalties.
When introduced by the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, the policy was heralded as a major plank of Britain's bulwark against the tide of illegal immigration. But, in a landmark decision which threatens to undermine the entire regime, a judge has now ruled that it "offends fairly basic concepts of justice and indeed the rule of law".
Responding UKIP Home Affairs Spokesman Diane James MEP said: "Nothing could expose better the absolute dysfunctional position of UK border control. Fining airlines who, in all good faith, transport passengers and which rely on airport based border control and security systems to undertake the entry access systems, just makes no sense whatsoever.
"In the UK we now have landlords, court police, GPs and hospital based personnel all directed by the Home Office under Theresa May's control to act as border control staff, a situation brought about by a nonsensical slashing of the UK Border Force budget by over 20% coupled with a workforce cut of 5000 staff. It looks as though airline staff will soon be locked into that responsibility too - what next airport cleaners!
"The remaining 18,000 UKBA personnel are meant to cover every airport, seaport and UK entry point 24/7 and it is just not happening. 'Outside' of the Schengen agreement was meant to add an element of passport check security but clearly that is not working either and of course the EU would have the UK believe that Frontex will be the saviour for this situation - well clearly it is not. With all the supposed investment across the EU member states to support Frontex - situations like this should not arise
"So much for those Europhiles who put their faith in EU organised systems.
"With EU passports available for sale at 20 euros one has to wonder why the counterfeiters bother but clearly there is a market and one that can be exploited because of the lack of national border force investment.
"Every fine heaped on the airlines is passed back onto ticket prices and traveller costs.
"Theresa May needs to 'wake up and smell the coffee' on this situation as does the Easyjet CEO McCall - people want to travel, they need to know that they are 100% safe and secure - EU membership cannot and will not deliver that key requirement and the UK government needs to take on board that reliance on EU member states frontier and entry management is just not working and never will. A nation state should be in charge of its own border control 'No if's and no but's."