Four-in-five asylum seekers issued with deportation orders in the last five years remain unaccounted for.
New Freedom of Information figures released to Newstalk show that 4,631 deportation orders were issued to people whose application for asylum was rejected between 2018 and last year.
The figures show that Gardaí enforced 314 of the orders – which makes up around 7%.
Meanwhile, figures released via Parliamentary Question show that the Department of Justice assisted another 430 people to self-deport in that time frame.
That means that 3,887 asylum seekers who were issued with deportation orders have an ‘unknown status’ in Ireland.
Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín told Newstalk he believes Ireland’s immigration system is ‘broken’.
“It is an incredible situation that those who have failed in their asylum application, that the vast majority of those are either still in the country or the Government doesn’t know where they are,” he said.
“That there is no process at the airports or at the ferry ports to identify when a person has left the country and, in many ways, the Government’s deportation system is a voluntary system.
“People will be shocked by that.”
He said the Government’s failure to follow up on deportation orders is ‘ludicrous’.
“The Government has a process where deportation does not mean deportation.
“Deportation means that the Government issue you with an order but does not follow through in making sure that it is delivered upon.
“We have this really strange situation – this ludicrous situation – that the Government when you ask them how many people have had their deportation order fulfilled the Government simply shrug.
“They don’t know.”
Deputy Tóibín said the situation impacts most upon people who arrive here fleeing real danger.
“There is also a cost to refugees in these terms because we find it difficult to provide safe, warm, comfortable accommodation to real refugees when we have a whole system full of people who the State has already determined are not refugees or are not asylum seekers,” he said.
Earlier this month the government confirmed that nearly 80,000 refugees and asylum seekers were living in State accommodation.
Serious concerns have been raised about the quality of accommodation on offer in certain areas with overcrowding becoming an issue.
Meanwhile, a Government TD has criticised the practice of accommodating asylum seekers in tents, labelling it ‘wrong and inhumane’.