Immigration Detention Dispatch – 16 March 2017

Average length of stay in Brook House removal centre rises as some “held for years”

Catch up on the fortnight’s immigration detention news and parliamentary debate

Revealed this fortnight

  1. Men in Brook House immigration removal centre “held for years'”. Four men have been held for more than two years and the average length of detention in the centre has risen from 28 to  48 days, according to a new report. The BBC has more.
  2. Data on numbers of LGBT people detained missing. Records of the numbers of LGBT people held in detention centres between January and November 2016 were not taken for Campsfield, Colnbrook, Hardmondsworth and Tinsley House, according to documents obtained through Freedom of Information Requests. The Home Office says managers are not required to record the information. The Attitude has more.

In other news

  1. UK’s detention and deportation system “incoherent and inhumane”, says MP. The Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott criticised the government’s policy of carrying out mass deportations on charter flights in an editorial for the Guardian.
  2. Campaigners protest outside Morton Hall. The demonstrators called for the closure of the centre following the second death there in under two months, one week after a detainee received a four year jail sentence for setting fire to his cell in frustration at the length of his detention. ITV News and the BBC have more.
  3. Visitors group raises concerns about “despair and distress” of men detained in The Verne, saying that the indefinite nature of their detention sometimes makes them question whether life is worth living. The BBC has more.

Immigration Detention in Parliament

Children detained

Why were two children detained for immigration purposes for between 29 days and two months in the final quarter of 2016, asked Tom Brake, Lib Deb Foreign Affairs spokesperson and MP for Carshalton and Wallington.

The Home Office does not comment on individual immigration casesanswered Robert Goodwill, the Immigration Minister; but under Home Office policy children are not held in immigration detention centres and are only detained in exceptional circumstances.

71 children were detained for immigration purposes last year according to the government’s immigration statistics, noted Diane Abbott, the Shadow Home Secretary.

Vulnerable people debate

Victims of modern day slavery are being indefinitely detained in immigration removal centres; when will this end? asked David Burrowes, Conservative MP for Enfield, Southgate, in a parliamentary debate on immigration detention.

What does the Immigration Minister have to hide in Yarl’s Wood that means my request to visit the centre not been answered for four months, asked Diane Abbott in the same forum.

Why aren’t we using cheaper and more effective alternatives to immigration detention, asked Anne McLaughlin, MP for Glasgow North East; and when is the Home Office going to fulfil its promise of replacing its current detention review system with a new system of individualised removal assessments and reviews, asked David Burrowes, during the debate.

The government only uses immigration detention as a last resort; and it is working to design a more effective case management process to replace the existing system to reduce the numbers of people detained long-term, answered Robert Goodwill.

The end of indefinite detention?

Does the Home Secretary plan to introduce a 28 day time limit for immigration detention; and when will she respond to my application to visit Yarl’s Wood? asked Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green Party and Brighton Pavilion MP.

The government holds people in immigration detention for the shortest time possible, responded Robert Goodwill.

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