Why is it so difficult to deport illegal alien criminals from Britain?
The argument over immigration controls deepened last night after a gang of teenage robbers who were in the country illegally was convicted of killing a woman as she held a six-month-old baby at a christening party.
It was the second time this week that immigrants who had been allowed to remain in Britain despite committing a string of offences were found guilty of a brutal killing.
On Tuesday, a court heard how two Somali men involved in the shooting of Pc Sharon Beshenivksy had been spared deportation because their homeland was judged too dangerous for them.
At the Old Bailey yesterday, Diamond Babamuboni, 17, his brother Timy, 15, and Jude Odigie, 16, all from Nigeria, were convicted of the manslaughter of Zainab Kalokoh, 31, a married mother of two children from war-ravaged Sierra Leone.
A fourth, who cannot be named, was found guilty of her murder at the party in Peckam, south London, in August last year. The Babamuboni brothers — whose mother had been refused leave to remain in the country — were in Britain illegally. Odigie had also been told he could not stay.
Yet despite this, they carried on a life of crime with apparent impunity other than occasional court appearances. They were meant to attend courses run by local youth offender teams but shunned any interventions.
The brothers had been in trouble since before their teenage years, with convictions for robbery, assault and theft. Odigie had convictions for disorderly behaviour.
Last night, a Home Office spokesman said: "Foreign nationals must obey the laws of this country in the same way as everybody else and those who have committed criminal offences here are therefore subject to the same legal processes as anyone else in the UK, and can expect prosecution and, where appropriate, a custodial sentence and deportation.
"The vast majority of people who come to the UK abide by this country's laws, but we want to make clear that we will not accommodate those that abuse our hospitality and sanctuary by becoming involved in crime."
But David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said: "This is a consequence of serial government failure. How much longer must the public suffer the, all too often lethal, threat to their safety of this Government's absolute failure to either deport or incarcerate those people who should not be in our communities?"
Sir Andrew Green, the chairman of Migrationwatch, said the Government was either not deporting those it could or was unable to remove them because of human rights laws.
"The time is rapidly approaching when we must fundamentally review our inability to deport foreign nationals with a string of criminal convictions."
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