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Enid Ruhango

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:19 pm on 16th July 2009.

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Photo of Alan Campbell Alan Campbell Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Crime Reduction) 6:19 pm, 16th July 2009

As ever, my right hon. Friend makes a powerful case and speaks up for his local community. He will appreciate, I am sure, that there are legal processes at work. I cannot comment on specifics, but his remarks are on the record, and I assure him that they have been heard.

UKBA has 11 immigration removal centres. They provide 3,000 bed spaces, which are predominantly for individuals who are awaiting removal, or whose applications are being processed under the detained fast-track arrangements. Let me make it clear that no one likes to use detention, but it is an essential part of the Government's commitment to operate a firm but fair immigration and asylum policy, as it assists us in removing those who do not qualify for leave to remain here and who refuse to leave the UK voluntarily, or who would otherwise abscond. The use of immigration detention is always a last resort, but if people refuse to go home, detention becomes a necessity.

Yarl's Wood immigration removal centre has just over 400 bed spaces: about 280 are designated for single females, and about 120 are family bed spaces. The centre has full-time independent social workers and a range of trained experts to monitor welfare 24 hours a day, and it has been praised on numerous occasions for its facilities. In fact, Her Majesty's chief inspector of prisons has recently praised it for the "significant progress" that has been made.

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