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MP committee concludes that UK government has totally failed on immigration detention

An all-party parliamentary committee reported on 21 March that the UK Home Office is “careless and cavalier” in its approach towards UK immigration. This has resulted in a number of immigrants being detained wrongfully.

About the report on migrant detentions in the UK 

The report from the Home Affairs Select Committee stated there were very serious failings in just about all areas of the UK’s immigration detention procedures. It concluded the department “utterly failed” in all essential responsibilities associated with humane and safe detention.

The Committee highlighted that case work failure and safeguarding issues have resulted in the wrongful detainment of migrants, as well as detention when people are most vulnerable. It was concluded that the Home Office failed to follow its own guidelines and policies.

It was also suggested that detention should only be used as a last resort policy and there should be a maximum time limit on detentions of no more than 28 days. Calls were also made for an end to all indefinite detainments.

Committee Chair, Yvette Cooper, commented: “This inquiry has found serious problems in every part of the immigration detention system. Irresponsible failures by the Home Office have led to vulnerable people being wrongly detained, people being held in detention far too long, and serious failings in the operation of individual immigration removal centres. Reform is needed urgently to ensure the immigration detention system is fair, works sensibly, is transparent and humane.” She added there was “a general lack of humanity in the system.”

A lack of essential support and care 

The Windrush fiasco has highlighted just what impact Home Office policies can have on migrants’ lives, and a lack of any kind of judicial safeguard has meant the Home Office delays reviews of individuals placed in detention facilities for far too long.

The report highlighted that some victims of torture are detained and are not being provided with the essential support, care or treatment they need.

A spokesperson for the Home Office commented: “Detention is an important part of our immigration system – but it must be fair, humane and used only when absolutely necessary. We do not detain people indefinitely, and the law does not allow it – most people detained under immigration powers spend only short periods in detention… we are committed to going further and faster with reforms to immigration detention and a comprehensive cross-government programme of work is in hand to deliver on that commitment.”

Richmond Chambers is a barrister-only immigration law firm. If you need legal assistance or representation with regard to migration to the UK, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


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