Reid plans immigrant raids

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Indy Politics

Extra border-control officers and more raids on companies employing illegal workers will be promised by John Reid tomorrow when he announces a doubling of the immigration budget.

As the Home Secretary prepares to set out plans to rebuild confidence in immigration controls, he received a series of reminders of the scale of the challenge facing him. Leaked papers showed Home Office officials had secretly listed more than 45,000 "undesirables" from Bulgaria and Romania who may attempt to enter the UK when the two countries join the European Union.

The Commons Home Affairs Select Committee denounced the performance of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) as "clearly inadequate" and recorded hundreds of accusations of corruption.

Also, the Countess of Mar, who has just resigned from Immigration Appeals Tribunal, attacked the immigration system as a "farce" that failed to remove rejected applicants while letting down deserving cases.

Mr Reid will set out plans to double the IND budget from £140m to £280m by 2009-10. The service, which will become an arm's-length agency in two years, will use the cash to recruit staff and invest in new technology.

Passport officers at ports and airports will be given uniforms and may be given powers to detain new arrivals. More raids will be conducted on businesses suspected of recruiting illegal workers in an attempt to increase the numbers of people removed from the country. The Home Office is also considering bringing in private security firms to support immigration officers.

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