News from Ireland: Ireland to Fingerprint Asylum Seekers

By Irish America Staff
October / November 2000

In an attempt to reduce the number of illegal immigrants entering the country, Ireland will introduce mandatory fingerprinting for all asylum seekers. This step has been roundly criticized by human rights organizations and the Irish Refugee Council.

Under the new program, all asylum seekers over the age of 14 will be fingerprinted and the information will be added to a Europe-wide database containing details about all refugees entering Europe. Under the 1990 Dublin Convention, asylum seekers can be deported if it is discovered that Ireland was not their first port of call within the European Union. They can then be sent back to the European country where they first arrived to have their applications processed. This new step in electronic monitoring will expedite the process.

This latest crackdown has sparked fury among civil rights groups. As one spokesman pointed out, “It is remarkable that the Department of Justice can get their act together so quickly when it comes to security-driven measures. This contrasts sharply with the tardiness on the reception and integration of refugees.” ♦

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